Stem cells: Another important development by research
Another important research development is the possible therapeutic benefit of stem cells to lupus. The idea is derived from the ability of stem cells to develop into different types of cells and repair the body. Current stem cell research focuses on the role of mesenchymal stem cells. These cells originate from umbilical cords, bone marrow, and other tissues and are used to replace dead cells. Because mesenchymal cells aren’t fetal tissues, they do not have the same restrictions and concerns with embryonic stem cells.
The unique properties of mesenchymal cells make them an attractive therapy for lupus and other autoimmune disorders. With them, there is less risk for rejection as recipients and donors do not have to match for the success of the treatment. Recipients will also not have to undergo cell removal with chemotherapy, thereby reducing the risk for infection.
Mesenchymal stem cells aren’t without a backup study. A research in China tested over 200 people who previously didn’t have responses to standard lupus therapies. Data shows that 75% of the participants had positive responses from the treatment. Their response rate was higher than typical while their disease activity was greatly reduced. There was also no severe reaction from all participants although some adverse reactions were observed.
These studies are groundbreaking. It basically found that mesenchymal stem cells have a great potential benefit to lupus patients. However, the study had one weakness; it didn’t have a control group to compare the results with. Experts agree that a control group is important in any research to ensure that the therapy is indeed effective. For lupus therapy, it would ensure that mesenchymal stem cell patients respondent better than those who receive standard lupus therapy.