Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease in which the the immune system inaccurately attacks healthy tissues in the body. Symptoms vary depending on what tissues are attacked, but may include painful joints, fever, chest pain, hair loss, mouth ulcers, fatigue, and facial rash. These symptoms often present intermittently with periods of remission followed by flare ups and generalized inflammation.


The cause of lupus is unknown, but it is thought to involve both environmental factors as well as genetics.

There is no cure for SLE and side effects from pharmaceutical treatments can be quite severe. Common drugs include anti-inflammatories, immunomodulators, immunosuppressants, and steroids.

Researchers are looking to try and decrease the inflammation associated with lupus through the immunosuppressive properties of stem cells and their bioactive components. Currently, stem cell treatment aims to decrease the frequency of flare ups and suppress the inflammation associated with SLE.

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The most current research regarding stem cells and SLE is given below:

Umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cell transplantation in active and refractory systemic lupus erythematosus: a multicenter
clinical study

Dandan Wang, Jing Li, Yu Zhang, Miaojia Zhang, Jinyun Chen, Xia Li, Xiang Hu, Shu Jiang, Songtao Shi, and Lingyun Sun

Abstract: In our present single-center pilot study, umbilical cord (UC)–derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) had a good safety profile and therapeutic effect in severe and refractory systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The present multicenter clinical trial was undertaken to assess the safety and efficacy of allogeneic UC MSC transplantation (MSCT) in patients with active and refractory SLE.


A Long Term Follow-up Study of Allogeneic Mesenchymal Stem/Stromal Cell Transplantation in Patients With Drug Resistant Systemic Lupus Erythematosis
Dan Dan Wang...Lingyun Sun

Abstract: Allogeneic mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) have been widely studied as an alternative cell source for regenerative medicine. Here, we report a long-term follow-up study of allogeneic bone marrow and/or umbilical cord MSC transplantation (MSCT) in severe and drug-refractory systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients. Eighty-one patients were enrolled, and the 5-year overall survival rate was 84% (68/81) after MSCT. At 5-year follow-up, 27% of patients (22/81) were in complete clinical remission and another 7% (6/81) were in partial clinical remission, with a 5-year disease remission rate of 34% (28/81). In total, 37 patients had achieved clinical remission and then 9 patients subsequently relapsed, with 5-year overall rate of relapse of 24% (9/37). SLE Disease Activity Index scores, serum albumin, complement C3, peripheral white blood cell, and platelet numbers, as well as proteinuria levels, continued to improve during the follow-up. Our results demonstrated that allogeneic MSCT is safe and resulted in long-term clinical remission in SLE patients.