Stem cell transplantation is the replacement of damaged
bone marrow cells with healthy cells, or stem cells. It is generally done after
powerful drugs have been used to wipe out the damaged immune system
Stem cells are immature cells that are produced
in the bone marrow. They can divide to produce more stem cells or mature into
red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
Stem cell transplantation has serious
risks. After a person's stem cells have been collected from the bloodstream,
they are returned to the bloodstream along with a stem cell growth factor. If
successful, the stem cells help the bone marrow return to a healthy state.
But during the two weeks that the
immune system requires to become strong again, the
body is extremely vulnerable to life-threatening infection.
This procedure is considered a high-risk, expensive,
and experimental treatment for lupus.
Hahn BH (2015). Systemic lupus erythematosus. In DL Kasper et al., eds., Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th ed., vol. 2, pp. 2124–2134. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerNancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology