Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is becoming an increasingly recognized indication for treatment of autoimmune diseases and severe immune-mediated disorders. However, multicenter registry data have demonstrated higher than anticipated early toxicity, approximately 10% for autoimmune diseases in general, and 20-27% for diffuse systemic sclerosis (scleroderma). If uncorrected, this high treatment-related mortality will hinder development of stem cell therapy for immune-mediated diseases. In order to develop safer regimens, we address some pitfalls and concepts involved in design and selection of conditioning regimens for autoimmune diseases in general, and because it is associated with the highest regimen-related toxicity, scleroderma in specific.
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