Aim: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of intralesional injection of human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) in canine anal furunculosis dogs.
Materials & methods: Dogs naturally develop an immune-mediated disease called canine anal furunculosis, which shares many features with human fistulizing Crohn's disease.
Results: The hESC-MSCs were well tolerated and 1 month postinjection, accompanied by reduced serum levels of IL-2 and IL-6, two inflammatory cytokines associated with Crohn's disease. All six dogs were found to be completely free of fistulas at 3 months postinjection. However, at 6 months, two dogs had some fistula relapse.
Conclusion: Results of this study provide the first evidence of the safety and therapeutic potential of hESC-MSCs in a large animal model.
Keywords: Crohn's disease; canine perianal furunculosis; human embryonic stem cells; mesenchymal stem cells; perianal fistulas; pluripotent stem cells.