Treatment of severe autoimmune disease by stem-cell transplantation

Nature. 2005 Jun 2;435(7042):620-7. doi: 10.1038/nature03728.


Transplantation of haematopoietic stem cells--cells capable of self renewing and reconstituting all types of blood cell--can treat numerous lethal diseases, including leukaemias and lymphomas. It may now be applicable for the treatment of severe autoimmune diseases, such as therapy-resistant rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Studies in animal models show that the transfer of haematopoietic stem cells can reverse autoimmunity, and several mechanistic pathways may explain this phenomenon. The outcome of ongoing clinical trials, as well as of studies in patients and animal models, will help to determine the role that stem-cell transplantation can play in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / surgery
  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance / immunology
  • Immunosuppression Therapy
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Stem Cell Transplantation*