Physician Information

A detailed summary for doctors, including links to the clinicaltrials.gov website and medical literature.

Background. There is strong evidence for genetic susceptibility to Crohn’s Disease (CD), with environmental factors interacting with genetic polymorphisms.

Some patients remain refractory to the best available therapies. In patients with intestinal inflammation related to other genetic disorders, allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation has led to disappearance of inflammation, for example, in patients with IPEX (immune dysregulation, polyendocrinopathy, enteropathy, X-linked) and with a mutation in the Interleukin-10 receptor, characterized by a severe, early onset, fistulating colitis for which transplantation is the only therapy that offers benefit. Eleven patients with typical CD who achieved allogeneic donor chimerism after transplant had resolution of signs and symptoms of CD that was sustained for up to 15 years. 

  1. Lopez-Cubero S., et al. Course of Crohn’s Disease after allogeneic marrow transplantation (1998)
  2. Ditschkowski M., et al. Improvement of inflammatory bowel disease after allogeneic stem-cell transplantation (2003)

These case series suggest that allogeneic transplantation has substantial potential to cure CD.

Hypothesis and Specific Aims. The hypothesis is: Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation can achieve sustained remissions in patients with refractory CD, and can be done safely. The specific aims are: 1) To evaluate the safety and efficacy of allogeneic HCT as treatment for refractory CD. 2) To evaluate treatment effect on CD activity/severity using activity indices (CDAI and the Harvey Bradshaw Index) and the Simple Endoscopic Score for CD (SES-CD). 3) To evaluate safety by scoring regimen-related toxicities, time to engraftment, infectious complications, acute and chronic GVHD, and treatment-related mortality. 4) To evaluate the effect on quality of life.

Methods. This study is a prospective single-arm Phase II clinical trial that will enroll 12 patients.

  • Patient selection. Patients from 18 to 60 years old will have documented CD; signs and symptoms that have failed to respond satisfactorily to medical and surgical therapies; active intestinal inflammation by endoscopy and histology, and CDAI ≥250, or need for TPN, or recurrent inflammation after resection. Donors will be an HLA-matched sibling who does not carry NOD 2 mutations or an unrelated donor.  Detailed inclusion and exclusion criteria can be found at the link NCT01570348, on ClinicalTrials.gov.
  • Allogeneic transplant procedure. Patients will receive a reduced-intensity conditioning regimen of cyclophosphamide, fludarabine and low-dose TBI, a regimen that has been used successfully in patients receiving haploidentical allografts. Marrow will be used as the graft source to reduce the risk of GVHD. GVHD prophylaxis will consist of post-transplant high-dose cyclophosphamide followed by the combination of tacrolimus and enteric coated mycophenolic acid. Supportive care includes the use of N-acetyl cysteine infusions to reduce the risk of sinusoidal liver injury from cyclophosphamide; prophylaxis with ursodiol to prevent cholestatic liver disease; and antimicrobial drugs as prophylaxis and pre-emptive treatment for infections by bacteria, fungi, herpesviruses, and Pneumocystis jiroveci. Tissue and blood samples will be archived for future studies and evaluation of immune reconstitution at predefined intervals.
  • Efficacy and safety end-points. Safety and efficacy will be based on clinical assessments, laboratory testing, and gastrointestinal endoscopy and histology at baseline, at day 100 post-transplant, and yearly for 5 years.  The primary endpoint is event-free survival at 1 year, defined as alive and free of active CD by endoscopy and biopsy. Transplant-related mortality is death occurring at any time after start of allogeneic HCT. Disease activity and quality of life will be evaluated using CDAI, the Harvey Bradshaw Index and the Short Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire instruments.
  • Risks and potential benefits.  The major risks include regimen-related toxicity, infections, graft rejection, and GVHD.  Autologous stem cells will be reserved in case of graft rejection. Recent advances in transplant technique have substantially reduced the mortality risk. Balancing these risks is the potential for allogeneic  transplant to effect sustained remissions and cures of CD.

Patient Information »
An introduction to the Crohn's Allogeneic Transplant Study (abbreviated CATS).

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Updates »
The latest information about the Crohn’s Allogeneic Transplant Study.