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What is the best treatment for ulcerative colitis? Role stem Cell Play

By BioXcellerator

ulcerative-collitis

The gastrointestinal system is one of the most important parts of the human body. This system is necessary for any person to extract energy and vitamins from food and water. If any part of the gastrointestinal system is compromised, then a person’s ability to live can become compromised. One condition in particular affects important parts of the gastrointestinal system, the large intestine (colon) and the rectum. This disease is known as ulcerative colitis.

There are about one million people living with ulcerative colitis in the United States and about six to eight million people with the disease worldwide. That number could be much higher as the condition may be diagnosed in underdeveloped countries. Ulcerative colitis can greatly diminish a patient’s quality of life. Patients never know when a flare up of symptoms will occur where they could suffer from sudden bouts of diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Anyone with ulcerative colitis could be going out and enjoying their day and it could suddenly be put to a stop. Patients with severe ulcerative colitis may have to be hospitalized at times in order to treat their symptoms. Current treatment options only treat the symptoms of the disease and do not treat the underlying symptoms. The medical community can only put out the fire for a period of time before it comes back.

Researchers have been looking for alternative treatment methods for patients with ulcerative colitis. The goal of much of this research is to cure the disease and prevent any more symptoms from flaring up in the future. One potential treatment that is being heavily studied is stem cell therapy. Researchers believe that stem cells could hold the key to curing the disease. Before we jump into how stem cells can help treat ulcerative colitis, let’s get a deeper understanding of ulcerative colitis.

What Is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects the digestive tract. The disease causes inflammation and ulcers, which can cause a number of issues for patients. Ulcerative colitis is typically a long term disease where patients will have flare ups throughout the duration of the disease. The disease largely affects the colon and rectum, but can affect other parts of the digestive system as well. Most patients develop the system over time rather than suddenly.

The medical community believes that the inflammation occurs because the immune system misidentifies food, bacteria, or other substances in the colon and rectum as foreign invaders. The immune system then responds by sending white blood cells to the lining of the colon and rectum. The immune system’s response causes inflammation throughout the colon and rectum.

Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms

Patients with ulcerative colitis have a number of varying symptoms that largely depend on the severity of their case. For many patients these symptoms will come and go anywhere from a period of days, weeks, months, or even years. The medical community does not have a full understanding of why symptoms come and go throughout the duration of the disease.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of the disease:

  • Abdominal pain due to increased inflammation in the colon and rectum.
  • Weight loss due to loss of appetite.
  • Diarrhea due to the increased inflammation that may include blood.
  • Fatigue due to the pain and diarrhea.
  • Fever due to the pain that the disease causes.
  • Malnutrition and dehydration due to diarrhea.

Patients report different levels of symptoms depending on a number of factors, including age and diet. A substantial portion of the patient population, about 45%, does not have any of the symptoms associated with the disease. These asymptomatic patients still have inflammation in their colon and rectum, but they do not have any outward symptoms.

In addition to the varying symptoms, there are different types of ulcerative colitis.

Types Of Ulcerative Colitis

The medical community typically characterizes the type of ulcerative colitis by the location of the inflammation. The different types of ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative Proctitis

In this type of ulcerative colitis the inflammation is only present in the rectum. This is generally the least severe case of ulcerative colitis. The only symptom of the disease may be rectal bleeding. This type is the least diagnosed type of ulcerative colitis as the symptoms are the least severe.

Proctosigmoiditis

This type of ulcerative colitis has more symptoms than ulcerative proctitis. The rectum as well as the lower end of the colon are both affected by this disease type. The symptoms associated with this type are bloody diarrhea and pains and cramps. Patients often feel the need to use the bathroom, but are unable to do so.

Left-Sided Colitis

Left-sided colitis is when the inflammation extends up from the rectum and through the descending colon. This type is generally when the symptoms of ulcerative colitis become more severe. The inflammation is generally felt on the left side of the body, resulting in cramping and pain on the left side of the body.

Pancolitis

This is by far the worst type of ulcerative colitis. This type affects the entire colon, as well as the rectum. The symptoms are also rather severe with blood diarrhea, fatigue, pain, and weight loss. Thankfully, this is the least common type of ulcerative colitis.

Increased Risk Of Cancer

Patients with ulcerative colitis have an increased risk of developing colon cancer. The additional inflammation in the colon and rectum may be the reason that cancer develops in the colon. Some researchers believe that the inflammation turns the cells lining the colon into cancerous cells. There is some evidence that patients with ulcerative colitis are more likely to develop colon cancer.

If patients continue to have ulcerative colitis for a long period of time, their risk of cancer continues to increase over time. A 2012 study found that patients with ulcerative colitis are twice as likely to develop colon cancer compared to patients without the condition. A 2008 review of long-term patients with ulcerative colitis found the following statistics:

  • 2% after 10 years
  • 8% after 20 years
  • 18% after 30 years

The normal population has a lifetime risk of less than 5% of developing colon cancer. This is exactly why it is imperative that patients receive treatment for this condition. If left untreated or undiagnosed, patients will deal with more serious consequences. Some patients do not respond to additional treatment methods. The medical community needs to investigate additional treatment methods, including stem cell therapy. Researchers also need to have a better understanding of the disease itself.

What Is The Underlying Cause Of Ulcerative Colitis?

Researchers do not understand the underlying mechanisms behind ulcerative colitis. The disease is not clearly caused by one single mechanism in the body based on current research. Because the underlying cause of ulcerative colitis is not fully understood, it makes treating the disease that much more difficult. If researchers fully understood ulcerative colitis, it would be much easier to treat the disease.

Ulcerative colitis is much more common in developed, industrialized countries as compared to the rest of the world. Some researchers believe that the modern day lack of germ resistance is responsible for ulcerative colitis. Levels of sulfate-reducing bacteria are generally higher in patients with ulcerative colitis. This would result in higher levels of hydrogen sulfide in the colon, which could cause the symptoms.

Another alternative theory is that crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are both caused by an infection. Some researchers believe that bacteria, called mycobacterium avium, and the immune system is not strong enough to fight off the infection. The resulting infection may cause ulcerative colitis.

The immune system’s response to foreign agents is the leading theory for the cause of ulcerative colitis. The white blood cells in the colon and rectum cause more harm than good. The immune system’s response ends up causing ulcerative colitis and creating the inflammatory state. Researchers do not quite understand exactly why the immune system responds in a way that damages the body and causes inflammation.

There are some similarities that the medical community has noticed in patients with ulcerative colitis.

Genetics

Researchers have noted that family history plays a part in chances of contracting the disease. If a family member contracts the disease then it is more likely that a patient will contract the disease as well. Researchers have identified some of the individual genes that may make a patient more susceptible for ulcerative colitis.

Race

Patients with anglo-saxon family history are more likely to develop the disease rather than asian, black, or latinx communities. Researchers are not entirely sure why race plays a part in the chances of developing ulcerative colitis.

Environmental Factors

There are a number of factors that can contribute to developing ulcerative colitis. Patients who have been breastfed are typically more protected from developing ulcerative colitis than patients who were not breastfed. There is no research that currently shows a link between diet and the development of ulcerative colitis. Some research does show that a patient’s symptoms can be worse if they have a diet rich with fats.

Age

Ulcerative colitis typically does not occur in patients under the age of 30. A patient will generally begin to experience ulcerative coliti symptoms at the age of 30. A reason why age may be a contributing factor is that ulcerative colitis does not appear overnight. The disease takes time to develop, which may be why it does not typically show up until later in life.

Ulcerative colitis is not the only autoimmune disease that affects the gastrointestinal system. The other prominent disease is known as crohn’s disease.

Difference Between Ulcerative Colitis And Crohn’s Disease

There is some confusion around the discussion between ulcerative colitis and crohn’s disease.

Some patients may believe that ulcerative colitis and crohn’s disease are one in the same. They are in fact different diseases. Crohn’s disease is typically more severe than ulcerative colitis, but both can greatly affect a patient’s quality of life.

Patients may get misdiagnosed with crohn’s disease when they have ulcerative colitis or could be misdiagnosed with ulcerative colitis when they have crohn’s disease. Patients should know the difference between the two diseases, as this information could help them ensure that they are receiving the correct treatment.

Both diseases are a group of conditions that are known as inflammatory bowel disease. Ulcerative colitis is three times more prevalent than crohn’s disease. These diseases have similar symptoms, such as diarrhea, cramps, abdominal pain, and fatigue. Some of the conventional treatment options are very similar for both ulcerative colitis and crohn’s disease.

This is exactly why many patients believe that they have one disease when in reality they have the other disease. Highlighting the differences between the two diseases will help you make sure that you have the correct diagnosis.

Location

One of the main differences between these two diseases is the area of the body that the disease affects. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal system, while ulcerative colitis only affects the colon and the rectum. Additionally, crohn’s disease can affect the skin, eyes, joints, and liver. These additional affected areas can lower a patient’s quality of life more as compared to ulcerative colitis.

Colon Effect

Another large difference between the two diseases is how it inflames the colon. Crohn’s disease can inflame all layers of the bowel walls. This would be much more uncomfortable and painful as compared to ulcerative colitis where only the innermost lining of the colon are affected. Ulcerative colitis the inflammation is contained only in the colon and rectum. Crohn’s disease can inflame all parts of the intestine.

Current Treatments For Ulcerative Colitis

The medical community has developed a number of treatments in order to treat ulcerative colitis. The goal of managing ulcerative colitis is to first combat the disease and get the symptoms under control. After the first round of symptoms are combatted, you and your medical professional will attempt to keep the disease in remission over the long term. This is much more difficult than most patients anticipate.

Medication

One of the first treatment options that medical professionals will try is medication. Medication is not always perfect for many patients. Anywhere from 25% to 40% of patients who receive medication need a secondary form of medication to treat the condition.

Anti-Inflammatory Medication

The first medication that most patients will be given is a class of anti-inflammatory medications. This type of medication generally works for patients with mild cases of ulcerative colitis. Azulfidine, Asacol HD, Delzico, Colazal, and Dipentum are all examples of anti-inflammatory medications that are first prescribed to ulcerative colitis patients. Corticosteroids are another medication type that can help reduce inflammation. This type of medication does have side effects, so it is not typically administered over the long term.

Immune System Suppressors

If anti-inflammatory medication does not work, then a medical professional will typically prescribe an immune system suppressors. These drugs work to reduce inflammation by stopping the immune system’s reaction. Immune system suppressors and anti-inflammatory can be prescribed together to create a more anti-inflammatory effect.

Unfortunately, these drugs can have the unfortunate side effect of reducing the immune system’s response to actual pathogens. This will make patients more susceptible to infections that can further complicate their case. There are additional side effects that these medications cause including, liver and pancreas problems, blood clots, and increased shingles risk.

Biologics

In some cases a biologic may be needed, which prevents inflammation throughout the body. This specific drug targets proteins that are made by the immune system. These medications have different pathways in how they treat ulcerative colitis. These drugs work by either blocking inflammatory cells from getting to the site of inflammation or blocking and neutralizing a protein produced by the immune system that causes inflammation.

The first long-term oral medication, called tofacitinib, was recently approved by the FDA in 2018. This medication is typically used for patients with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis. When a patient does not respond to the first round of medication, a medical professional can recommend this type of medication.

There are many patients who do not respond to medication at all. These patients have to turn to more drastic treatments in order to help their case. Up to 10% of patients diagnosed with the condition will eventually need to have a surgical intervention in order to treat the disease.

Lifestyle Changes

Medical professionals will often recommend making lifestyle changes in addition to taking medication in order to best treat the disease. Reducing the amount of stress in a patient’s life is a great way to reduce ulcerative colitis symptoms. Exercise does not necessarily help patients with ulcerative colitis, but it never hurts to get a patient in better shape.

A low-fat diet may help to reduce the number and severity of flare ups. Diets with a large amount of fat are known to cause diarrhea. Vitamin C is another lifestyle change that can greatly improve a patient’s outlook. Patients who eat diets that are rich in vitamin C have longer periods of time in between flare ups. A low-fiber diet may be recommended in some cases depending on the severity of the patient’s condition during flare up. Conversely, a patient may want to eat a high-fiber diet during states of remission.

Hospitalizations

If a patient experiences a severe bout of ulcerative colitis then they will likely become dehydrated and lose a good amount of vitamins and electrolytes. A patient’s lack of appetite and diarrhea is likely to blame for a required hospitalization. Patients may have to stay in a hospital for several days in order to recover from a bout of ulcerative colitis. They will have to recover all of the fluids, blood, and other substances that they lost during their last ulcerative colitis bout.

Surgery

Surgery is currently the only known cure for ulcerative colitis. If a patient has a severe case of ulcerative colitis, then surgical intervention may be the only option that a patient has. In this case a patient is experiencing a large loss of blood, a hole in your colon, symptoms where a patient cannot live their normal lives, or a severe stool blockage. The surgical procedure is known as a proctocolectomy.

Proctocolectomy

In this procedure, the surgeon will completely remove the entire large intestine, which should remove the inflammation as well. Once the large intestine is completely removed, the surgeon will open a part of the abdomen where the small intestine will empty out into a bag. A patient has to deal with a colostomy bag for the rest of their life. Unfortunately, this bag can become inflamed as well and cause additional side effects. There is another surgical option that may work for patients with ulcerative colitis.

J-Pouch Surgery

The other possible surgery is called j-pouch surgery. This type of surgery is similar to the proctocolectomy, but the patient will be able to use the bathroom just as before the surgery. The diseased part of the colon will be removed just as in the previous surgery. However in this procedure, the small intestine will be tied to an internal pouch which is then attached to the rectum. This will allow the patient to defecate with some normalcy. Bowel movements will be more frequent and watery than usual.

About one in five people with ulcerative colitis require surgical intervention over the course of their lifetime. That is exactly why the research community has been looking into alternative forms of therapy. Stem cells are a potential treatment option for a number of reasons. Fasting may be able to encourage the body to produce stem cells that can help combat ulcerative colitis.

Creating Stem Cells From Fasting And Ulcerative Colitis

Most patients with ulcerative colitis often eat multiple times each day. Eating multiple times each day may be contributing to ulcerative colitis and further accerberating the condition. Only consuming water for a period of time is known as fasting. Fasting for long periods of time may provide some relief for patients with ulcerative colitis.

There is some evidence that fasting also boosts stem cell production in the gastrointestinal system. When your body is not busy digesting food, it has more time to focus on utilizing stem cells to repair any issues with the colon and rectum. Stem cells may also be able to regulate the immune system and reduce the symptoms that the immune system creates.

Additionally when a patient is fasting, they are not putting food in their body. This can prevent the immune system from sending its typical response when it misidentifies food as a threat. The result should be less inflammation throughout the colon and rectum.

Some Promising Research

One study from the University of California showed that the immune system can completely regenerate itself after just three days of fasting. The body had essentially gotten rid of the dead cells that were no longer functioning. Your body may be able to get rid of dead cells in the body and stem cells could regenerate fresh, healthy cells. Fasting may be able to create new cells in the colon and rectum that have become damaged by ulcerative colitis.

Researchers at MIT found that fasting can be exceptionally beneficial for the intestines. Mice underwent a 24-hour fasting period and then researchers removed the mice’s intestine cells to study them further. The results were exceptional. The researchers found that the fasted mice were able to grow intestine cells at a rate twice as fast as mice who did not fast. This knowledge could be applied to patients with ulcerative colitis.

Another study by the University of California looked at how fasting can help patients with irritable bowel disease. Researchers put a group of mice under a diet that mimics a fast for four days. The diet was actually able to reverse the pathology of the disease. This happened due to the fact that the diet was able to regulate microbiota, regeneration, and inflammation. This same diet could be used to treat patients with ulcerative colitis.

Granted, most patients will have difficulty fasting as the standard diet for most countries is to eat three meals a day in addition to snacks. Researchers have been looking at the underlying mechanisms of fasting to understand why fasting helps with ulcerative colitis. The medical community could produce a medication or therapy that utilizes the knowledge from fasting.

In any case the only cure for ulcerative colitis currently is the removal of the colon, which is less than ideal for most patients. Fasting could be a potential treatment option for patients where conventional treatment options have not worked. Stem cells likely play a large part in how fasting helps patients with ulcerative colitis.

This is exactly why the research community has been looking into stem cell therapy as a potential treatment option for patients with ulcerative colitis. If a patient cannot fast to regenerate stem cells themselves, then utilizing stem cell therapy could be a viable way to help patients get the stem cells they need to treat ulcerative colitis.

Stem Cell Therapy For Ulcerative Colitis

Stem cells have long been lauded as a potential therapeutic treatment for a number of conditions. Researchers have spent the past few decades researching exactly what stem cells do and how they can help various diseases, such as ulcerative colitis. Researchers are now aware of a number of properties that stem cells possess that can treat autoimmune disorders, such as ulcerative colitis.

Stem cells release a number of regenerative and healing factors, which promote growth and healing within the body. When a patient has ulcerative colitis for a long period of time the tissue in the colon and rectum can become severely damaged to the point where they do not function properly. These regenerative capabilities of stem cells may help the body replace inflamed and damaged tissue in the colon and rectum. Stem cells can release the growth factors in the body that will signal to repair the damaged tissues and the stem cells can differentiate into the colon and rectum tissues.

Stem cells have anti-inflammatory capabilities, which would be perfect for treating ulcerative colitis. Some researchers believe that stem cells release cytokines that recruit other cells to treat inflammation and reduce the immune system’s response. Stem cells have been shown to reduce the immune system response in other autoimmune disorders. If stem cells can reduce the immune system’s response then the symptoms from the disease should subside as well.

Additionally, stem cells show little to no side effects for a variety of conditions. Many medications and conventional treatments have a number of side effects that could prevent patients using that treatment. The overall safety of stem cell therapy ensures that nearly every patient who has ulcerative colitis will be able to receive the treatment.

All of these reasons make stem cells an attractive therapeutic option for patients with ulcerative colitis. Stem cell therapy may be able to reduce the severity of ulcerative colitis symptoms, as well as slow the progression of the disease. Before we jump into the research behind stem cell therapy, let’s discuss how the immune system is affected by stem cells.

How Do Stem Cells Reduce The Immune System’s Response?

There have been many studies that have demonstrated that stem cells have the potential to reduce the immune system’s response for a variety of conditions. Stem cell therapy has been able to reduce inflammation in wound repair, rheumatoid arthritis, sepsis, and many other diseases.

Stem cells create an immunomodulatory effect on T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells. The stem cells are able to create this immunomodulatory effect via soluble factors and direct contact with the immune system cells. Mesenchymal stem cells are able to activate the immune responses and prevent the proliferation, maturation, and differentiation of T cells and B cells. This more or less means that less white blood cells will be sent to the colon and rectum. The result would be less inflammation throughout the colon and rectum.

Stem cells' ability to create an immunomodulatory effect on the immune system and less the overall response of the immune system is precisely why researchers are so interested in using them on inflammatory diseases, such as ulcerative colitis. A lot of promising research is being to point to the fact that stem cells will likely play a role in the treatment of ulcerative colitis in the near future.

Current Research On Stem Cells And Ulcerative Colitis

The research community has been forging ahead at looking at stem cells and how they can treat patients with ulcerative colitis. The research is still relatively early, but it is relatively promising. It will be up to the medical community to push the research forward and continue to investigate how stem cells help patients with ulcerative colitis.

A recent study looked at 15 different animal and human studies that looked to explore how stem cells can treat ulcerative colitis. The study aimed to better understand the current research landscape surrounding the therapeutic option. There were eight mice studies evaluated and seven human studies that were evaluated in the study.

In the mice studies, the group that was treated with mesenchymal stem cells had significantly lower disease activity and longer colon length than the group that was not treated with stem cells. In the human studies, the researchers noted that patients were able to repair their colon and rectum at a higher rate than the control group. The study further concluded that stem cells should be a safe and effective treatment for patients with ulcerative colitis, but that more research is needed.

A small study is looking at if mesenchymal stem cells can treat patients with ulcerative colitis. The study will involve 14 patients who have not responded to conventional treatment methods. Patients will receive either 150 million or 300 million stem cells that are injected into the tissue layer of the colon and rectal wall via endoscopy. The researchers will then follow up with patients three months after the procedure and up to one year after the procedure.

The study is small, but points to the fact that stem cells are going to be a potential treatment method for patients with ulcerative colitis in the near future. However, there are some patients who are suffering everyday from the disease and cannot or do not want to wait for a treatment to become fully realized.

There are many patients who will not want to wait until the Federal Drug Administration approves a stem cell therapeutic option for ulcerative colitis. There are countless patients that are suffering from ulcerative colitis and do not have any real treatment options that can relieve their symptoms. Their quality of life is constantly suffering whenever their symptoms flare up.

That is why patients have turned to conventional stem cell therapy in order to treat their ulcerative colitis. Patients can receive a stem cell injection via IV drop where the stem cells can go to the colon and rectem to perform their work. A direct injection of stem cells to the colon or rectum may also be beneficial. Patients with ulcerative colitis reach out to the BioXcellerator team to understand how stem cells can improve their quality of life and treat their ulcerative colitis.

BioXcellerator And Ulcerative Colitis

The BioXcellerator team has worked with many patients who have suffered from ulcerative colitis. We work with patients to create a customized treatment plan that will specifically treat ulcerative colitis. Patients have specifically come to the BioXcellerator facility in Medellin, Colombia in order to receive treatment for ulcerative colitis.

We have had several success stories where patient symptoms have improved after receiving stem cell therapy. A successful businessman, Corrie Elieff, recently traveled to the BioXcellerator facility to receive treatment for ulcerative colitis. He struggled with the disease and conventional treatment options were not working for his case.

The BioXcellerator team uses the best treatment method for your particular case. If stem cell therapy would not work for your case, then we are more than happy to offer the right treatment method or refer you to another medical professional. We want to see our patients improve more than anything. A dose of stem cells could be the treatment that makes a difference in a patient’s quality of life.

Our team hopes to continue to improve our abilities to treat patients and push the treatment of ulcerative colitis forward. One of the ways that we hope to improve the quality of patient lives is a new form of stem cells that we call ‘golden cells.’

Golden Cells

The stem cell industry has exploded in recent years as the medical community has recognized the regenerative capabilities of stem cells. Unfortunately, some medical professionals have recognized this opportunity to sell stem cell treatments that are subpar. Stem cell quality can vary depending on a number of factors. There are stem cell clinics that do not screen the stem cells used for quality in their procedures.

BioXcellerator understands this problem for potential patients who are looking into stem cell therapy for ulcerative colitis. Our team has developed an advanced screening and vetting process that ensures that our patients receive the highest quality stem cells. We use a strict set of criteria to find the most potent stem cells. These stem cells can be thought of as the 1% of stem cells, which should have more anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties than their counterparts. Our team believes that ‘golden cells’ have the ability to better treat patients compared to conventional stem cell therapy.

Reach out to your healthcare provider today to learn more about all of your potential treatment options for ulcerative colitis. If conventional treatment options are not working for you, there are other treatment options that can be explored. Stem cell therapy could improve your quality of life and lessen the severity of your ulcerative colitis. Stem cells may not work in every case, but stem cells could make a difference in your case.

Tags: ulcerative colitis treatments, ulcerative colitis, ulcerative colitis treatment

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