Stem Cell (Bone Marrow) Transplantation

Overview of Stem Cells and Stem Cell Transplants
Open Enrollments
Research Studies
Transplant Funding
Related Articles
Patient Stories

Overview of Stem Cells and Stem Cell Transplants

Stem Cells. This site provides many links about stem cells, stem cell transplants, research, and the latest news. MedlinePlus.

Stem cell enriched lipotransfer reverses the effects of fibrosis in systemic sclerosis. Autologous stem cell enriched lipotransfer significantly improved the effects of oro-facial fibrosis in SSc in this open cohort study. PubMed, PLoS One, 2019 Jul 17;14(7):e0218068.

Myeloablative Autologous Stem–Cell Transplantation for Severe Scleroderma. Myeloablative autologous hematopoietic stem–cell transplantation achieved long–term benefits in patients with scleroderma, including improved event–free and overall survival, at a cost of increased expected toxicity. PubMed, N Engl J Med, 2018 Jan 4;378(1):35-47.

Autologous stem cell transplantation (HSCT) in systemic sclerosis. Further improvement of transplantation regimens as well as a better understanding of the underlying pathogenetic principles and mechanisms of action should be the aim of further studies on HSCT. PubMed, Z Rheumatol. 2016 Oct;75(8):762-769.

Cellular Therapies in Systemic Sclerosis: Recent Progress. Currently, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is the only cellular therapy that has demonstrated clinical effects on the immune system, neoangiogenesis, and fibrosis. PubMed, Curr Rheumatol Rep, 2016 Feb;18(2):12.

Advances in pathogenesis and treatment of systemic sclerosis. Immunosuppression is now established as a beneficial approach but balancing risk and benefit is vital, especially for powerful approaches such as autologous stem cell transplantation. PubMed, Clin Med, 2016 Feb;16(1):55-60. (Also see Immunosuppressants and Scleroderma Treatments – General)

Open Enrollments

Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

Currently recruiting. Last updated 10/15/12.

Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (NST) for Patients With Systemic Sclerosis This study is designed to examine whether treating patients with high dose Cyclophosphamide and Fludarabine (drugs which reduce the function of your immune system) and CAMPATH-1H (a protein that kills the immune cells that are thought to be causing the disease), followed by return of blood stem cells that have been previously collected from patients brother or sister will stop or reverse the disease. Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.

ASSIST Trial: Now Recruiting

Autologous Stem Cell Systemic Sclerosis Immune Suppression Trial (DISclRituxan). ASSIST I was the first randomized trial in patients with scleroderma to not just slow disease progression but rather actually reverse it. It is the first treatment to have ever demonstrated reversal of lung disease in scleroderma with improvement in FVC, TLC, HRCT, and QOL. This study will compare the ASSIST I conditioning regimen of cyclophosphamide and rATG to the same regimen (rATG, cyclophosphamide) with rituximab (termed rituximab sandwich regimen). Northwestern.

Early Diffuse Progressive Systemic Sclerosis

Stem Cell Transfusion is a form of bone marrow transplantation which uses a patient's own cells, thus avoiding rejection problems. This is now being used, under a National Institute of Health Program, for early diffuse progressive systemic sclerosis.

SCOT Clinical Trial: Enrollment Completed

Enrollment for the SCOT trial completed in 2011.

SCOT Clinical Trial, which stands for "Scleroderma Cyclophosphamide Or Transplantation", will compare two potential therapies: autologous stem cell transplantation versus high-dose monthly cyclophosphamide. This study has been completed. (Also see Scleroderma Clinical Trials: Current and Cyclophosphamide)

Research Studies

New Computer–based Analysis Method Identifies Scleroderma Patients Who May Benefit Most from Stem Cell Transplant. The analysis of gene profile in blood samples may help identify scleroderma patients who could benefit most from stem cell transplant, a research study suggests. Scleroderma News, 11/01/2018.

Supportive Use of Adipose-Derived Stem Cells in Cell–Assisted Lipotransfer for Localized Scleroderma. Cell–assisted lipotransfer not only improves the survival rate of transplanted fat but also improves skin texture in bleomycin–induced skin fibrosis nude mice. PubMed, Plast Reconstr Surg, 2018 Jun;141(6):1395-1407.

Therapeutic Applications of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). The immuno–modulatory and regenerative characteristics of MSCs make them as one promising candidate for treating SLE. PubMed, Adv Exp Med Biol, 05/17/2018.

New Stem Cell Treatment for Diffuse Scleroderma Patients Available at Okyanos Center for Regenerative Medicine. A new treatment using adipose–derived regenerative cells (ADRCs) to treat hand problems caused by scleroderma is now available at Okyanos Center for Regenerative Medicine in Freeport, Grand Bahama. Scleroderma News, 10/12/2017.

Breakthrough study offers new hope for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Remarkable results from an NHS study into groundbreaking stem cell therapy has led experts to cautiously suggest it may halt MS from worsening, and in some cases lead to long–lasting remission. Mail Online, 09/18/2017. (Also see Multiple Sclerosis)

Sustained benefit from combined plasmapheresis (PE) and allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells transplantation (MSCT) therapy in systemic sclerosis. The results indicate that PE combined with MSCT is a feasible treatment associated with possible clinical benefit for SSc patients. PubMed, Arthritis Res Ther, 2017 Jul 19;19(1):165. (Also see Therapeutic Plasma Exchange)

Analysis of anti-topoisomerase I antibodies (Abs) in patients with systemic sclerosis before and after autologous stem cell transplantation (aSCTrans). The presence of anti-topo489-573 Abs before aSCTrans may indicate a less favourable course after aSCTrans. PubMed, Rheumatology (Oxford), 12/10/2016. (Also see Antibodies)

Mesenchymal stem cell therapy for refractory scleroderma: a report of 2 cases. Stem cell therapy is not ready for use on every patient with scleroderma but there are reasons to believe that it is possibly effective where there is indeed no hope to offer. PMC, Stem Cell Investig, 09/19/2016.

Does ex vivo CD34+ positive selection influence outcome after autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT) in systemic sclerosis patients? We demonstrate that CD34+ does not add benefit to the outcome of SSc patient treated with AHSCT and these findings should be further confirmed by prospective randomized trials. PubMed, Bone Marrow Transplant, 12/07/2015.

Human Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) Revealed As Promising Treatment For Systemic Sclerosis. The HSCT method appears to be a promising treatment of systemic sclerosis disease and the results of this study demonstrate substantial improvement over the course of 12 months treatment. Scleroderma News, 08/20/2015.

Transplant Funding

National Foundation for Transplants (NFT). NFT has raised from $5,000 to $600,000 in individual transplant campaigns from Maine to Guam.

Stem cells offer new hope for scleroderma patient. Other stem cell centres in Canada may look at offering the stem cell transplantation to scleroderma patients who meet medical criteria for the procedures, opening the door to others suffering with this disease. CTV News, 01/02/2017.

The impact of dialysis on the survival of patients with immunoglobulin light chain (AL) amyloidosis undergoing autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT). The study found significant differences in the OS depending on when the acute renal failure occurred and patients who required dialysis within 30 days of ASCT had the highest rate of treatment–related mortality. PubMed, Nephrol Dial Transplant, 2016 Aug;31(8):1284-9.

Patient Stories

Sadly, Doris Razo passed away in December 2012.

Chasing the Cure. In this book, follow Doris' courageous journey in dealing with an autoimmune disease and sifting through the maze of doctors and treatments, including a stem cell transplant. Doris Razo.

Carmen Rijos

Carmen Rijos: Systemic Scleroderma Carmen is in need of a stem cell transplant for scleroderma. This is a request for donations for the Carmen Rijos Private Foundation…

Craig R.

Craig R: CREST Scleroderma I had my first scleroderma symptoms at age twenty-two, which included severe Raynaud's with some ulceration and tissue loss…


Elva: Mother of Diffuse Scleroderma Patient My son is unable to put on his own socks and shoes. He is very tired, and has tremendous pain…

Jennifer Weldon

Jennifer Weldon: Systemic Scleroderma/Stem Cell Transplant Patient My hope is that others who suffer with this disease find the courage to have the stem cell/bone marrow transplant. If the doctors can learn more about fighting and curing scleroderma, then my decision to have the transplant and go on living is worth the fight… ISN.


Krissy: Systemic Scleroderma/Stem Cell Transplant Candidate Our home is like a hospital. We have oxygen tanks for when I need extra help breathing, and a lovely kangaroo pump which is how I get my continuous feeding in me…

Toni: Spouse of Stem Cell Transplant Survivor

Toni: Spouse of Stem Cell Transplant Survivor Jeff is now 17 months past his stem cell transplant and to look at him you'd never know he was sick…

Go to Scleroderma Clinical Trials: Current, Now Enrolling

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