Dr. Amy L. Lightner is presently an Associate Professor of Surgery at Cleveland Clinic and a member of the American Society of Colon and rectal surgeons (ASCRS) research committee. She is also serving as an Associate Editor for the British Journal of Surgery and also a reviewer for the journal of American College of Surgeons.
How did you come up with research on Regenerative Medicine for Perianal Crohn’s Disease & what got you interested?
When I was a surgical resident, I went to Stanford University to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in stem cell biology as part of the California for Institute Regenerative Medicine training program. I was working on liver regeneration by growing hepatocytes. I become increasingly fascinated by immunology and stem cell biology. When I pursued a career in colorectal surgery, and grew increasingly interested in inflammatory bowel disease, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Dozois and Dr. Faubion at Mayo Clinic who were working on stem cells for perianal Crohn’s disease. I was then able to go visit Dr. Garcia-Olmo in Spain who had been using stem cells for Crohn’s disease since 2003. I was encourage at how well the therapy worked for patients that suffered from chronic disease. Through my own background experience and learning from others, I was able to initiate our own stem cell trials for Crohn’s disease. Seeing how well the patients respond has kept me encouraged to keep attempting new modes of delivery and treat additional pehnotyeps of disease.
Why is your research important? What are the possible real world applications?
We can apply stem cell therapy to both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, but perhaps even more important, is through this research we can learn more about what causes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and think about how to find a cure for the disease.
What question or challenge were you setting out to address when you started this work?
To see if mesenchymal stem cells were safe and effective in perianal fistulizing Crohn’s disease.
What do you want to achieve with your research?
I want to find a cure or a better treatment option for patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
Tell me what you like to do when you aren’t working on research.
When I’m not doing research or operating, I am with my twins, Avery and Walker, who are 7. That time is treasured as they grow up too fast!
More about Dr. Amy Lightner research work
Dr. Lightner has a research interest in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). She is conducting clinical trials in regenerative medicine for perianal Crohn’s disease and did her research on the use of stem cell-based therapies for the treatment of Crohn’s disease. She also researched the perioperative management of biologic and immunosuppressive medications in patients who are suffering from Crohn’s disease.
She is currently serving as an Associate professor of Inflammation and Immunity at the Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic.