Immune ablation and stem-cell therapy in autoimmune disease. Clinical experience

Arthritis Res. 2000;2(4):276-80. doi: 10.1186/ar102. Epub 2000 May 26.


In the past 5 years, around 350 patients have received haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplantation for an autoimmune disease, with 275 of these registered in an international data base in Basel under the auspices of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) and the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation(EBMT). Most patients had either a progressive form of multiple sclerosis (MS; n = 88) or scleroderma (now called systemic sclerosis; n = 55). Other diseases were rheumatoid arthritis (Ra n = 40), juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA; n = 30), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE; n = 20), idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP; n = 7) and others. The procedure-related mortality was around 9%, with between-disease differences, being higher in systemic sclerosis and JIA and lower in RA (one death only). Benefit has been seen in around two-thirds of cases. No one regimen was clearly superior to another, with a trend toward more infectious complications with more intense regimens. Prospective, controlled randomized trials are indicated and being planned.

Publication types

  • Comment
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression*