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Arthritis Res Ther. 2007;9(2):206.

Cell therapy for autoimmune diseases.

Author information

  • 1Stem Cell Biology Section, Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, Imperial College Faculty of Medicine, London, UK. f.dazzi@imperial.ac.uk

Abstract

Cell therapy, pioneered for the treatment of malignancies in the form of bone marrow transplantation, has subsequently been tested and successfully employed in autoimmune diseases. Autologous haemopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) has become a curative option for conditions with very poor prognosis such as severe forms of scleroderma, multiple sclerosis, and lupus, in which targeted therapies have little or no effect. The refinement of the conditioning regimens has virtually eliminated transplant-related mortality, thus making HSCT a relatively safe choice. Although HSCT remains a nonspecific approach, the knowledge gained in this field has led to the identification of new avenues. In fact, it has become evident that the therapeutic efficacy of HSCT cannot merely be the consequence of a high-dose immuno-suppression, but rather the result of a resetting of the abnormal immune regulation underlying autoimmune conditions. The identification of professional and nonprofessional immunosuppressive cells and their biological properties is generating a huge interest for their clinical exploitation. Regulatory T cells, found abnormal in several autoimmune diseases, have been proposed as central to achieve long-term remissions. Mesenchymal stem cells of bone marrow origin have more recently been shown not only to be able to differentiate into multiple tissues, but also to exert a potent antiproliferative effect that results in the inhibition of immune responses and prolonged survival of haemopoietic stem cells. All of these potential resources clearly need to be investigated at the preclinical level but support a great deal of enthusiasm for cell therapy of autoimmune diseases.

PMID:
17367542
PMCID:
PMC1906794
DOI:
10.1186/ar2128
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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