Autologous stem cell transplantation in autoimmune and rheumatic diseases: from the molecular background to clinical applications.

Scand J Rheumatol. 2010;39(1):1-11
Authors: Szodoray P, Varoczy L, Szegedi G, Zeher M

Autoimmune diseases have a multifactorial origin. Because of disturbances of the immune system, autoreactive T and B cells target self-antigens, leading to permanent organ damage. Despite novel therapeutic protocols, the disease course is chronic and in many instances the outcome is lethal. The efficacy of stem cell therapy has been observed in autoimmune animal models and in autoimmune diseases related to haematological abnormalities. Although the therapy is more than 30 years old, its broad spread has been delayed by the serious side-effects due to the conditioning treatments based on oncological protocols. Evaluation of the data of patients who have undergone autologous stem cell therapy reinforced the view that protocols used for conditioning treatments, mostly causing lymphoablation, and procedures carried out in specialist centres significantly reduced mortality, with an almost optimal therapeutical efficacy. New, multicentre investigations have been launched to compare the efficacy of various protocols. In this review, we summarize certain aspects of the molecular background of autologous stem cell transplantation and also depict the response to therapy in various autoimmune and rheumatic diseases.
PMID: 20132064 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]