A phase II clinical study investigating the efficacy of mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs] to treat moderate to severe lupus symptoms has been launched by the Lupus Foundation of America, in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (part of the NIH). Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the immune system can affect virtually any tissue in the body, including skin, joints and organs. MSCs represent a promising treatment option in that, in addition to the inherent plasticity of MSCs, they also possess immune modulation properties. The NIH is providing resources and oversight for the study, which will investigate how mesenchymal stem cells can effectively regulate and limit the autoimmune response of Lupus sufferers. Currently there are no effective options for their lupus symptoms other than steroid treatments, which have significant side effects, as they are detrimental to vital organ function.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania school of Dental Medicine have elucidated the mechanism behind mesenchymal stem cell transplants in lupus patients, who typically suffer greater risk of osteoporosis. Prior work with stem cells has led to improvements in their condition, but until the current study, the process by which gains were made have been poorly understood.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder that compromises health, mobility and quality of life. Current treatments address the symptoms of the disorder but fail to address its underlying causes. In a study utilizing mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in an animal model, transplants of MSCs reduced inflammation and attenuated nephritis (kidney infection).