Using stem cell transplants to treat scleroderma – Our researchers helped make hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation — the standard treatment for leukemia and other blood cancers — an established treatment for severe scleroderma.
With transplantation, it may be possible to remove the reactive cells that trigger the immune system to attack the body. In such a transplantation, a patient's stem cells are collected, and cells that react against the patient's own tissue are removed. Next, the patient undergoes high-dose chemotherapy and takes drugs to suppress their immune system. The patient then receives an infusion of the stem cells that were collected before treatment, with the goal of rebuilding a new, healthier immune system. Learn more >
Making transplants less toxic – Because systemic sclerosis patients do not always tolerate conventional transplants well, the Hutchinson Center is developing lower-intensity transplantation regimens, known as or non-myeloablative or "mini" stem-cell transplants. This treatment involves lower doses of chemotherapy and radiation, generally reducing toxic side effects. Learn more >