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Outcomes of adipose tissue stem cell transplantation for the treatment of refractory lupus nephritis

To date, the immunomodulatory capacity of mesenchymal stem cells is well known. In this phase one clinical trial, the efficacy of these cells for the treatment of refractory lupus nephritis (LN) was verified. Specifically, 9 patients received systemic infusion of mesenchymal stem cells derived from adipose tissue and followed up for a 12-month follow-up period. No adverse events were observed following treatment. In the month following transplantation, a significant reduction in urine protein levels was observed. This level remained significantly below the threshold until the third month. During the first three months after treatment, a complete and partial renal response was observed in 33.3% and 44.4% of patients, respectively. Subsequently, these rates decreased. The median SLEDAI score (index used to assess disease activity) decreased significantly in the first six months (from 16 to 6) and then increased slightly at 12 months post-transplant. As reported by the researchers, allogeneic transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells from adipose tissue was shown to be safe and able to reduce proteinuria and disease activity. However, the best effect was observed at one month after infusion with regard to proteinuria and at six months with regard to the disease activity index. For this reason, multiple infusions of adipose tissue mesenchymal stem cells over time are necessary to maintain long-term remission of refractory lupus nephritis.