Chinese researchers have recently published new findings in Arthritis Research & Therapy, a top peer-reviewed journal in the field of systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases, regarding the safety and effectiveness of umbilical cord (UC) derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in treating 40 patients with severe and refractory Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).
The recent forty patient multi-center study was undertaken to assess the safety and efficacy of allogeneic UC MSC transplantation (MSCT) in patients with active and refractory SLE. The clinical trial was sponsored by Beike Biotechnology Co., Ltd. (Beike) (https://beikebiotech.com), China’s leading stem cell research and regenerative medicine company, who also provided the stem cells and research oversight. The main treatment facility was the Department of Rheumatology and Immunology at the Affiliated Drum Tower Hospital of Nanjing University Medical School. The full study can be seen here: (http://arthritis-research.com/content/pdf/ar4520.pdf.)
Dr. Sean Hu, Beike founder and study contributor noted, “We are very pleased with the results we have seen in our clinical trial. While some severe cases experienced relapse after 6 months, the results show a markedly improved quality of life expectation. This is a big step forward in combating autoimmune disease. We will now be looking to further our SLE research efforts to find even better results.”
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a systemic autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the body. SLE most often harms the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, liver, kidneys, and nervous system.There is currently no cure for this condition.
The forty patients with active SLE were recruited from four clinical centers in China. Allogeneic UC MSCs were infused intravenously on days 0 and 7.The results for this study showed no transplant-related adverse effects. There were also significant improvements noted in patients’ BILAG scores, a clinical measurement of Lupus disease activity. The study concluded, “UC-MSCT results in satisfactory clinical response in SLE patients. However, in our present study, several patients experienced disease relapse after 6 months, indicating the necessity to repeat MSCT after 6 months.”