Henry E. Young, Mark O. Speight
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic incurable and potentially fatal autoimmune disease. SLE manifests itself with the production of autoantibodies to partially digested nuclear components, cells, and non-cellular material. With any type of tissue insult, there is a release of material from damaged tissues which initiates a cascade of events that perpetuate a lupus flare/crisis, resulting in replacement of functional tissue with non-functional scar tissue in all organs of the body. Current pharmacological interventions use immunosuppressive therapy, cytotoxic agents, and/or biologics to halt the progression of SLE. Studies are ongoing to prove the utility of stem cells to cure people with chronic diseases. Myeloablation followed with HLA-matched hematopoietic stem cells demonstrate its ability to halt the progression of SLE. Mesenchymal stem cells demonstrate an immunomodulatory effect on the
immune system, slowing the progression of SLE. Neither stem cell treatment has shown an increase in systemic organ functioning. We hypothesize that telomerase-positive stem cells would halt progression of disease and increase systemic organ functioning. A 61-year-old male was diagnosed as two-week terminal stage-IV SLE, with systemic organs functioning at or below 25%. He was treated with multiple autologous and allogeneic telomerasepositive stem cell transplants. He is still alive after 9+ years and his organs are functioning at or near 70%.