The use of stem cells for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

Braz J Med Biol Res. 2007 Dec;40(12):1579-97

The use of stem cells for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

Authors: Rosa SB, Voltarelli JC, Chies JA, Pranke P

Autoimmune diseases constitute a heterogeneous group of conditions commonly treated with anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressant and immunomodulating drugs, with satisfactory results in most cases. Nevertheless, some patients become resistant to conventional therapy. The use of high doses of drugs in such cases results in the need for bone marrow reconstitution, a situation which has stimulated research into the use of hematopoietic stem cells in autoimmune disease therapy. Stem cell transplantation in such diseases aims to destroy the self-reacting immune cells and produce a new functional immune system, as well as substitute cells for tissue damaged in the course of the disease. Significant results, such as the reestablishment of tolerance and a decrease in the recurrence of autoimmune disease, have been reported following stem cell transplantation in patients with autoimmune disease in Brazil and throughout the world. These results suggest that stem cell transplantation has the potential to become an important therapeutic approach to the treatment of various autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, systemic sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, autoimmune blood cytopenias, and type I diabetes mellitus.

PMID: 17713674 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]