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Clinical Study Evaluates Stem Cells as Potential Lupus Treatment

Our nearly decade-long commitment to stem cell research has led to a major Phase II clinical trial of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) for the treatment of moderate to severe lupus.

The study is an early step in determining whether stem cell treatments hold promise as a safe, effective alternative for people with lupus who do not benefit from current treatments. The study also seeks to determine if MSC therapy could diminish the often debilitating long-term effects of lupus, reduce the need for medications like steroids – which have harmful side effects – and stop damage to vital organs.

The Foundation believes that identifying and funding clinical trials with the potential for immediate impact on patients’ lives is critical.  

In 2018, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), awarded a five-year grant that will support the study by funding a data coordination center, site and safety monitoring, and mechanistic studies for the duration of the investigation. This is in addition to the Foundation’s previous announcement to provide nearly $4 million in funding from 2018-2023.

The NIH award demonstrates the growing trend and importance of public-private partnerships between government, nonprofit, and research partners to advance research efforts into the causes of lupus and the discovery of new treatments. The Foundation also believes that identifying and funding clinical trials with the potential for immediate impact on patients’ lives is critical, and we are considering several new trials to fund in the coming years.