New horizons in the treatment of autoimmune diseases: immunoablation and stem cell transplantation

Annu Rev Med. 2000;51:115-34. doi: 10.1146/


The prevalence of autoimmune diseases (ADs) in Western countries is estimated to be from 3-7%, and the treatment of severe, relapsing/refractory cases is still not satisfactory. The concept of utilizing intense immunosuppression followed by allogeneic or even autologous hemolymphopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to treat AD is based on encouraging results in experimental animals and from serendipitous cases of patients with both ADs and malignancies who were allotransplanted for the latter. However, rare unexpected relapses despite donor immune engraftment have been reported following HSC transplantation for AD. Autologous transplantation is a more feasible procedure with lower toxicity than allogeneic transplantation. This article analyzes the experimental basis for stem cell transplantation in AD and discusses the most important clinical results of both allogeneic and autologous HSC transplants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / therapy
  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy*
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / therapy
  • Transplantation, Autologous