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Rheumatology (Oxford). 1999 Aug;38(8):764-6.

Autologous stem cell transplantation: a possible treatment for refractory juvenile chronic arthritis?

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  • 1Department of Paediatric Immunology, University Hospital for Children, 'Het Wilhelmina Kinderziekenhuis', Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

In adults, autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) has been described recently as a possible treatment for severe autoimmune disease refractory to conventional treatment. We report here the four first children with severe forms of juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA) treated with ASCT.

METHODS:

We studied three children with systemic JCA and one child with polyarticular JCA. Unprimed bone marrow was harvested 1 month prior to ASCT. T-cell depletion of the graft was performed with CD2 and CD3 antibodies. We used a preparative regimen of antithymocyte globulin (ATG; 20 mg/kg), cyclophosphamide (Cy; 200 mg/kg) and low-dose total body irradiation (TBI; 4 Gy). Methotrexate (MTX) and cyclosporin A (CsA) were stopped before ASCT; prednisone was tapered after 2 months.

RESULTS:

After ASCT, our patients showed an anti-inflammatory-drug-free follow-up of 6-18 months with a marked decrease in joint swelling, pain and morning stiffness. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP) and haemoglobin (Hb) returned to near-normal values within 6 weeks. Despite T-cell depletion, there was a very rapid immune reconstitution. Two patients developed a limited varicella zoster virus (VZV) eruption which was treated by acyclovir.

PMID:
10501430
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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