Autoimmun Rev. 2004 Feb;3(2):21-9
Cohen Y, Nagler A.
Departments of Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Ramat-Gan 52621, Israel.
Immunological manipulations are the basis of modern therapy for refractory autoimmune diseases (AID).
Ablative chemotherapy with stem cell support (autotransplant) as well as targeted immunotherapy using specific monoclonal antibodies, such as rituximab (R) and campath 1-H have become acceptable second line therapy for severe refractory AID.
Until now, more than 500 autotransplants have been performed worldwide for various autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis (MS), systemic sclerosis (SSc), systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with encouraging results, although transplant related mortality (TRM) in the range between 2 and 17% still remains one of the major limitations of the procedure.
Immunotherapy is a relatively safe approach associating with sustained remissions in a considerable proportion of treated patients.
Better selection of patients and earlier immunotherapy, preceded an irreversible organ damage might further improve the clinical outcome of patients with AID.