Ten years have passed since the first published consensus statement on the use of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) in the treatment of severe autoimmune disease (AD) appeared. During that time, around 700 patients suffering from severe AD have undergone HSCT in the frame of phase I/II clinical trials from over 20 countries including the US. The majority have received an autologous HSCT using one of a limited number of regimens, consistent with the original consensus statement. Long-term drug-free remissions, remission then relapse, no response and treatment-related mortality (TRM) were seen in all the subgroups of AD. An overall TRM of 7% was observed, with marked variation between ADs, i.e. 11% in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and only 1 patient in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Phase III prospective, comparative randomized trials are running or being planned in multiple sclerosis (MS), systemic sclerosis (SSc), SLE and RA. Basic science programs are also being undertaken to study the immunological mechanisms underlying the clinical events observed.

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