If I remember right (and I may be wrong -- I often am!), Peanut, who we all still dearly miss, had her stem cell transplant at Northwestern, although she may not have been in the clinical trial. In general, the transplants are only offered to patients who have the worst prognosis and it is still not a sure-fire cure for scleroderma. But they do seem to be getting better at them all the time, as they tweak the treatment protocols.
Most of us when we first hear about the stem cell transplants go, oh yeah, I want one of those, and right now, please! But it is quite sobering to learn the nitty gritty details, and to realize stem cell transplants have much higher success rates with other diseases. Still, if you think you are a good candidate after reading the qualifications for it, and its risks, be sure to ask your scleroderma expert about it.
One word of caution, though. Many years ago, I told my rheumatologist I was concerned because my skin tightening was progressing. And she said she wasn't worried about it at all, because skin involvement would never kill me -- but lung involvement (for example) would. Well, that caught me up short and readjusted my faltering attitude in one big hurry. And that is actually at the root of what you are talking about for a stem cell transplant, the very understandable desire to avoid or forestall terminal complications. I think all of us totally "get" that wish.
Scleroderma facial involvement, if and when it occurs, often is not always entirely bad. Usually its effect is to gradually erase wrinkles, or even prevent them, sort of like a natural form of plastic surgery. Collagen is what people want in their faces so badly they are willing to pay for collagen injections and have surgery, to emulate it. And there are other and less toxic therapies to address scleroderma skin tightness (and other symptoms as well) such as UVA1 Phototherapy.
That said, I doubt there are any among us with scleroderma who didn't spend some quality time researching stem cell transplants, and every other potential treatment. In fact, that's part of the aim of our nonprofit, to continually research, report, and organize all the medical breakthroughs for scleroderma and related illnesses. Knowledge is truly power when it comes to dealing with a dread disease, and that means every aspect of knowledge -- the good, the bad, and the ugly. We need to know the possible beneficial treatments as well as their side effects or complications so we can make the best possible decisions for our healthcare.
In any scleroderma support group, you are going to find people who have been sobered by the reality of various treatments -- as well as sobered by the reality of the illness, too. There's also a bit of bias to consider, as people who get better (from whatever) tend to move on quickly, not needing the support anymore, and people who die (from whatever) tend to be acutely and fondly remembered, and sometimes the treatment rather than the illness is blamed for their demise. So you'll garner our emotional reaction on treatment topics, for sure, but please balance that with all the scientific info you can muster as well, so as to not make a decision that is unduly biased (in any direction) for your own health.