Many institutions worldwide are conducting clinical studies using immunoablative therapy followed by hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for the treatment of SLE. Interpretation of these studies will be complicated by the differences in patient selection, conditioning regimens, and the method of stem cell collection. A major concern with this approach is that autoreactive effector cells will be re-infused with the autologous graft. The recent demonstration that immunoablative therapy (cyclophosphamide 200 mg/kg) can be safely delivered without the need for stem cell rescue offers a potential way to circumvent this problem. Early results employing immunoablative therapy, with or without stem cell rescue, are encouraging; however, longer follow-up and additional patients are necessary to validate this approach.
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