Stem Cell Transplant May Hold Benefits for Systemic Sclerosis

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There was significant sustained improvement in skin score as well as in vasculopathy and gastrointestinal manifestations after stem cell transplant.
There was significant sustained improvement in skin score as well as in vasculopathy and gastrointestinal manifestations after stem cell transplant.

HealthDay News — Stem cell transplant may be an effective treatment for systemic sclerosis (SSc), according to a small study published online in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.

Velu Nair, MD, from the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune, India, and colleagues assessed 4 patients who underwent autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) for SSc between 2008 and 2012. Selection criteria included rapidly progressive disease with involvement of at least 1 major organ.

The researchers found that, over 7 years of follow-up, there was significant sustained improvement in skin score as well as in vasculopathy and gastrointestinal manifestations.

There was no further deterioration in interstitial lung disease. There was also remarkable improvement in quality of life indices among all subjects. No transplant-related complications were seen.

"In absence of an effective pharmacotherapy for SSc, autologous HSCT has a huge potential in management of cutaneous and internal organ manifestations," the authors write.

Reference

Nair V, Vasdev V, Kumar A, Shankar S, Nair V, Sharma A. Stem cell transplant in systemic sclerosis: an Indian experience [published online February 2, 2018]. Int J Rheum Dis. doi: 10.1111/1756-185X.13262

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