Stem Cell Transplant May Be Effective for Systemic Sclerosis

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Small study shows improvements in management of cutaneous, organ manifestations
Small study shows improvements in management of cutaneous, organ manifestations

HealthDay News — Stem cell transplant may be an effective treatment for systemic sclerosis (SSc), according to a small study published online February 2 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 one major organ. 

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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.

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