1*Division of Gastroenterology and Liver Disease, Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio; †Division of Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre Shadyside Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; ‡Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; §Division of Internal Medicine, John Stroger Hospital of Cook County, Chicago, Illinois; ‖Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota; and ¶Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
Recent advances in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) therapeutics include novel medical, surgical, and endoscopic treatments. Among these, stem cell therapy is still in its infancy, although multiple studies suggest that the immunomodulatory effect of stem cell therapy may reduce inflammation and tissue injury in patients with IBD. This review discusses the novel avenue of stem cell therapy and its potential role in the management of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. We conducted a comprehensive literature search to identify studies examining the role of stem cell therapy (without conditioning and immunomodulatory regimens) in IBD. Taken together, these studies suggest a promising role for stem cell therapy in IBD although the substantial challenges, such as cost and inadequate/incomplete characterization of effect, limit their current use in clinical practice.