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Papers of the Week

Papers: 29 Jul 2023 - 4 Aug 2023

2023 Jul 21





Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis: Possibilities and Challenges of Mesenchymal Stromal/Stem Cell-Based Therapies.


Shimizu Y, Ntege EH, Azuma C, Uehara F, Toma T, Higa K, Yabiku H, Matsuura N, Inoue Y, Sunami H


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a highly prevalent, chronic, and progressive autoimmune disorder primarily affecting joints and muscles. The associated inflammation, pain, and motor restriction negatively impact patient quality of life (QOL) and can even contribute to premature mortality. Further, conventional treatments such as antiinflammatory drugs are only symptomatic. Substantial progress has been made on elucidating the etiopathology of overt RA, in particular the contributions of innate and adaptive immune system dysfunction to chronic inflammation. Although the precise mechanisms underlying onset and progression remain elusive, the discovery of new drug targets, early diagnosis, and new targeted treatments have greatly improved the prognosis and QOL of patients with RA. However, a sizable proportion of patients develop severe adverse effects, exhibit poor responses, or cannot tolerate long-term use of these drugs, necessitating more effective and safer therapeutic alternatives. Mounting preclinical and clinical evidence suggests that the transplantation of multipotent adult stem cells such as mesenchymal stromal/stem cells is a safe and effective treatment strategy for controlling chronic inflammation and promoting tissue regeneration in patients with intractable diseases, including RA. This review describes the current status of MSC-based therapies for RA as well as the opportunities and challenges to broader clinical application.