Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Autoimmune Disease-Is It Now Ready for Prime Time?
ABSTRACT Current systemic therapies are rarely curative for patients with severe life-threatening forms of autoimmune disease (AID). During the past 15 years, autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) has been demonstrated to cure some patients with severe AID refractory to all other available therapies, and thus AID has become an emerging indication for cell therapy. The sustained clinical effects after autologous HCT are better explained by qualitative change in the reconstituted immune repertoire rather than transient depletion of immune cells. Since 1996, more than 1300 AID patients have been registered by the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) and almost 500 patients by the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR). Autologous HCT is most commonly performed for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) or systemic sclerosis (SSc). Systemic lupus, Crohn's disease, type I diabetes, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis are other common indications. Allogeneic transplants are still considered too toxic for use in AID, except for cases of immune cytopenia. Although biologic therapies have been effective at controlling the manifestations of the disease, they require continuous administration, thus raising questions about their increasing costs, morbidity, and mortality related to prolonged therapy. Perhaps it is a reasonable time to ask, "Is autologous HCT for severe AID now ready for prime time?" Yet, the paucity of controlled studies, the short-term toxicities, and the upcoming availability of second-generation biologic and targeted immunotherapies argues that perhaps HCT for AID should be still limited to clinical trials. In this article, we focus on the results of autologous HCT for MS and SSc because these are the two most commonly transplanted diseases. The promising data that is emerging may establish these diseases as standard indications for HCT.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Transplantation of neural stem/precursor cells (NPCs) has been proposed as a promising therapeutic strategy in almost all neurological disorders characterized by the failure of central nervous system (CNS) endogenous repair mechanisms in restoring the tissue damage and rescuing the lost function. Nevertheless, recent evidence consistently challenges the limited view that transplantation of these cells is solely aimed at protecting the CNS from inflammatory and neurodegenerative damage through cell replacement. Recent preclinical data confirmed that transplanted NPCs may also exert a 'bystander' neuroprotective effect and identified a series of molecules - for example, immunomodulatory substances, neurotrophic growth factors, stem cell regulators as well as guidance molecules - whose in-situ secretion by NPCs is temporally and spatially orchestrated by environmental needs. A better understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms sustaining this 'therapeutic plasticity' is of pivotal importance for defining crucial aspects of the bench-to-beside translation of neural stem cell therapy, that is route and timing of administration as well as the best cellular source. Further insight into those latter issues is eagerly expected from the ongoing phase I/II clinical trials, while, on the other hand, new cellular sources are being developed, mainly by exploiting the new possibilities offered by cellular reprogramming. Nowadays, the research on NPC transplantation in neurological disorders is advancing on two different fronts: on one hand, recent preclinical data are uncovering the molecular basis of NPC therapeutic plasticity, offering a more solid rational framework for the design of clinical studies. On the other hand, pilot trials are highlighting the safety and feasibility issues of neural stem cell transplantation that need to be addressed before efficacy could be properly evaluated.Current opinion in neurology 06/2012; 25(3):322-33. DOI:10.1097/WCO.0b013e328352ec45 · 5.73 Impact Factor
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is an emerging therapy for patients with severe autoimmune diseases (AID). We report data on 368 patients with AID who underwent HCT in 64 North and South American transplantation centers reported to the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research between 1996 and 2009. Most of the HCTs involved autologous grafts (n = 339); allogeneic HCT (n = 29) was done mostly in children. The most common indications for HCT were multiple sclerosis, systemic sclerosis, and systemic lupus erythematosus. The median age at transplantation was 38 years for autologous HCT and 25 years for allogeneic HCT. The corresponding times from diagnosis to HCT were 35 months and 24 months. Three-year overall survival after autologous HCT was 86% (95% confidence interval [CI], 81%-91%). Median follow-up of survivors was 31 months (range, 1-144 months). The most common causes of death were AID progression, infections, and organ failure. On multivariate analysis, the risk of death was higher in patients at centers that performed fewer than 5 autologous HCTs (relative risk, 3.5; 95% CI, 1.1-11.1; P = .03) and those that performed 5 to 15 autologous HCTs for AID during the study period (relative risk, 4.2; 95% CI, 1.5-11.7; P = .006) compared with patients at centers that performed more than 15 autologous HCTs for AID during the study period. AID is an emerging indication for HCT in the region. Collaboration of hematologists and other disease specialists with an outcomes database is important to promote optimal patient selection, analysis of the impact of prognostic variables and long-term outcomes, and development of clinical trials.Biology of blood and marrow transplantation: journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation 06/2012; 18(10):1471-8. DOI:10.1016/j.bbmt.2012.06.003 · 3.35 Impact Factor
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Type 1 diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease that results from the autoimmune response against pancreatic insulin producing β cells. Apart of several insulin regimens, since the decade of 80s various immunomodulatory regimens were tested aiming at blocking some steps of the autoimmune process against β cell mass and at promoting β cell preservation. In the last years, some independent research groups tried to cure type 1 diabetes with an "immunologic reset" provided by autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in newly diagnosed patients, and the majority of patients became free form insulin with increasing levels of C-peptide along the time. In this review, we discuss the biology of hematopoietic stem cells and the possible advantages and disadvantages related to the high dose immunosuppression followed by autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.Current Diabetes Reports 08/2012; 12(5):604-11. DOI:10.1007/s11892-012-0309-0 · 3.38 Impact Factor