Immunological manipulations are the basis for modern treatments of autoimmune diseases (AID). Targeted immune suppression with lymphopenic based chemotherapy, and monoclonal anti B or T lymphocytic antibodies, are integral part of the conditioning for stem cell transplantation (SCT). Immune manipulation by Cyclophosphamide (Cy), ATG, Campath and recently rituximab (RI), with or without stem cell support are the basis for emerging therapeutic modalities aiming to eradicate the autoreactive clone in various autoimmune disorders. Couple of hundreds of SCTs have been recently performed in various autoimmune disorders, mainly multiple sclerosis (MS), progressive systemic sclerosis (PSS), systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Preliminary results are encouraging. Better selection of patients and earlier treatment, before irreversible organ failure develops will probably improve results. Current ongoing multicenter studies are evaluating the role of SCT in MS, RA, SLE, and PSS.
Keywords: autoimmune disease, rituximab, campath-1h, stem cell transplantation, systemic iupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, multiple sclerosis
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