Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic recurrent intestinal inflammatory disorder.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic recurrent intestinal inflammatory disorder, and is mainly divided into Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). The exact cause of IBD is not yet fully understood. The common consensus is that genetic, environmental, and host-related factors, such as geographical location, genetics, diet, and immune system function, contribute to development of gut inflammation resulting in IBD. Some studies suggest that IBD may result from autoimmune response in the intestine and colon. Symptoms of IBD range from mild, to debilitating, to life-threatening, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and significant weight loss, etc.


The incidence of IBD has been increasing rapidly in virtually every industrialized country during twenty-first century. In 2020, it was established that there are over 6.8 million IBD cases worldwide, with about 3 million in the United States. IBD affects people from both sexes, throughout all races and of all ages. 


Current Treatment

The fact that etiology of IBD remains elusive has hindered the development of treatments for the disease. Current medical treatment is a combination of pharmacological, rehabilitating and surgical treatments, which aim at reducing or eliminating symptoms, blocking the progression of disease, and improving the patient’s health. Surgery treatments greatly impact the patient’s life quality, therefore is mostly avoided. At present, common prescribed medicines include the corticosteroids, aminosalicylates, antibiotics, supportive medications (such as probiotic bacteria and fecal microbiota transplant), and immunosuppressive drugs. Most pharmacological treatments show adverse effects, and are only effective in the short term but cannot improve the symptoms of the disease during long-term treatment. There is an urgent need for effective and readily available treatments with favorable tolerability.


Advances in Stem Cell Therapy for IBD Treatment

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been demonstrated to possess immunosuppressive properties that affect multiple parts of the immune systems. Studies have shown that MSCs have trophic functions, secreting a series of mediators, which may reduce inflammatory responses and promote tissue repair. All those properties make MSCs a good potential treatment for IBD, an inflammatory disease.


ImStem has conducted preclinical studies exploring the effect of T-MSCs in treating mice with chemical-induced colitis. Our studies have shown that T-MSCs maintained the intestinal epidermal cell lining and alleviated colitis in both acute and chronic IBD mouse models, and the underlying mechanism is T-MSCs induce secretion of growth factor IGF-1. Our data support that T-MSCs can be developed as a potential treatment for IBD.