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Stem cell treatment for lupus

Stem cells from patients with lupus can help reverse the course of the chronic inflammatory disease when transplanted back into the same patients.

Stem cell treatment for lupus

Stem cells from the bone marrow of patients with severe cases of lupus can help reverse the course of the chronic inflammatory disease when transplanted back into the same patients. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that affects the skin, joints, blood, kidneys and other parts of the body, causing inflammation and pain. Researchers from the Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, USA, found that of 50 patients who underwent the procedure, half were disease free after five years. Those involved in the study had either life-threatening or organ-threatening lupus and had exhausted all treatment options. The patients' bone marrow stem cells were taken from their blood and separated out. High doses of chemotherapy were used to almost destroy the stem cells' immune systems before they were reintroduced to try to regenerate a healthier immune system. The idea was that if you turn back the clock and let the immune system heal itself, the patient should have a chance of ending up without the disease. The researchers did the first U.S. stem cell transplant for lupus in 1997. The study ran from 1997 through January 2005. The results justify a larger study comparing transplants to other methods of treatment.
JAMA,
January 2006
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