Stem Cells Breakthrough in Lupus. Researchers at the University Clinical Hospital of Valladolid and the Institute of Biology and Molecular Genetics (IBGM) – a joint center of the University of Valladolid and the CSIC – have successfully tested a therapy with mesenchymal stem cells in three patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). All the patients suffered from kidney disease and no longer responded to conventional treatments.
“Lupus usually evolves in flares, and when patients do not respond to treatment. A significant problem arises,” explains the IBGM researcher.
In this study, they treated three chronic patients with over 20 years of evolution, where the disease had progressed significantly.
Previous studies in animals and humans had suggested the potential of mesenchymal stem cells from the bone marrow, also known as stromal cells or MSCs – for their English acronym – in the treatment of lupus. This disease may result from an alteration in mesenchymal tissue, which gives rise, for example, to bones, muscles, or cartilage.
“There were promising data in the literature, especially in patients from oriental countries, about mesenchymal cell transplantation.”
In this work, published in the Lupus journal, they included three chronic patients with over 20 years of evolution. Where the disease had progressed significantly. The main condition was that they had significant renal involvement, as “the simplest and most conclusive tests to determine the effectiveness of mesenchymal cell treatment are performed via urine, checking if proteins are lost or not.”
Stem Cells Breakthrough in Lupus. Stem cell therapy for lupus
The therapy involves the intravenous introduction of 90 million mesenchymal stem cells. It was administered when patients were in a flare and did not respond to previous treatment. Subsequently, we monitored patients, measuring different kidney and general parameters after 1, 3, 6, and 9 months of treatment.
In all three cases, the flare was stopped with good results. This allowed a reduction in medication doses by 50 to 90%. Supporting the conduct of a randomized and controlled clinical trial.
Lupus falls within autoimmune pathologies. In these, the immune system ‘confuses’ and does not differentiate between foreign antigens (microbes) and those of our cells. Which are attacked, causing inflammation and damage to the body’s tissues.
As its name implies, it is a systemic disease, and patients may experience flares that affect different organs such as skin, joints, kidneys, heart, or lungs.
Patients go through flare-ups and others where the effects subside. Although there are very severe lupus cases and others not so serious, such as those manifested with skin conditions.
Being a chronic disease, we require an adequate follow-up of these patients and early treatment of complications. This is essential to prevent serious damage to vital organs. However, the origin of the disease is still largely unknown, and its treatment is complex.
To delve a little deeper into the knowledge of stem cells, we invite you to read our article “Stem Cells: What Are They?“