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What is SLE?

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is the most common type of lupus. SLE is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own tissues, causing widespread inflammation and tissue damage in the affected organs. It can affect the joints, skin, brain, lungs, kidneys, and blood vessels. Women were more frequently affected than men for every age and ethnic group. Incidence peaked in middle adulthood and occurred later for men.

How serious is SLE?

The seriousness of SLE can range from mild to life-threatening. The disease should be treated by a doctor or a team of doctors who specialize in care of SLE patients. People with lupus that get proper medical care, preventive care, and education can significantly improve function and quality of life.

What Causes SLE?

The cause of SLE is not clearly known. It may be linked to the following factors:

  • Genetic
  • Environmental
  • Hormonal
  • Certain medicines

What are the complications of SLE?

SLE can have both short- and long-term effects on a person’s life. Early diagnosis and effective treatments can help reduce the damaging effects of SLE and improve the chance to have better function and quality of life. Poor access to care, late diagnosis, less effective treatments, and poor adherence to therapeutic regimens may increase the damaging effects of SLE, causing more complications and an increased risk of death.

SLE can limit a person’s physical, mental, and social functioning. These limitations experienced by people with SLE can impact their quality of life, especially if they experience fatigue. Fatigue is the most common symptom negatively affecting the quality of life of people with SLE.

Many studies use employment as a measure to determine the quality of life of people with SLE, as employment is central to a person’s life. Some studies have shown that the longer a person has had SLE, the less likely they are to be a part of the workforce. On average, only 46% of people with SLE of working age report being employed.

Adherence to treatment regimens is often a problem, especially among young women of childbearing age (15 to 44 years). Because SLE treatment may require the use of strong immunosuppressive medications that can have serious side effects, female patients must stop taking the medication before and during pregnancy to protect unborn children from harm.

Can a person die from SLE?

Causes of premature death associated with SLE are mainly active disease, organ failure (e.g., kidneys), infection, or cardiovascular disease from accelerated atherosclerosis. In a large international SLE cohort with average follow-up of over 8 years during a 1958–2001 observation interval, observed deaths were much higher than expected for all causes, and in particular for circulatory disease, infections, renal disease, and some cancers. Those who were female, younger, and had SLE of short duration were at higher risk of SLE-associated mortality.

Using death certificates for US residents, SLE was identified as the underlying cause of death for an average of 1,176 deaths per year from 2010–2016. SLE was identified as a contributing cause of death (one of multiple causes of death, including underlying cause of death) for an average of 2,061 deaths per year during that 7-year-period.

How does Beike 23 Century MSC help in SLE?

MSCs are multipotent, non-haematopoietic progenitor cells that are being explored as a promising new treatment for tissue regeneration. Although their immunomodulatory properties are not yet completely understood, their low immunogenic potential, together with their effects on immune responses, make them a promising therapeutic tool for severe and refractory autoimmune diseases. MSCs have already been applied in clinical treatment for acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) following allogeneic HSCT, ischemic cardiomyopathy, and for autoimmune diseases like systemic sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, dermatomyositis/polymyositis, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome and type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Beike 23 Century’s UC-MSC were clinically proven to effectively improve the condition of SLE. The result of our study shown an overall survival rate of 92.5% (37/40). UC-MSCT was well tolerated, and no transplantation-related adverse event was observed. Thirteen and eleven patients achieved MCR (13/40, 32.5%) and PCR (11/40, 27.5%) during 12 months follow-up, respectively. Then three and four patients experienced disease relapse at 9 (12.5%) and 12 (16.7%) months follow-up, after a prior clinical response. SLEDAI score significantly decreased at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months follow-up. Total BILAG score markedly decreased at 3 months and continued to decrease at subsequent follow-up visits. BILAG scores for renal, hematopoietic and cutaneous systems significantly improved. For those with lupus nephritis, 24-hour proteinuria declined after transplantation, with statistical differences at 9 and 12 months. Serum creatinine and urea nitrogen decreased to the lowest level at 6 months, while these values slightly increased at 9 and 12 months as a result of 7 relapsed cases. In addition, serum levels of albumin and complement 3 increased after MSCT, peaked at 6 months and then slightly declined at 9 and 12 months follow-up. Serum antinuclear antibody and anti-double-strand DNA antibody decreased after MSCT, with statistical differences at 3 months follow-up.

60% of patients achieved major or partial clinical response after 12 months of follow-up visits. Intravenous infusion of UC-MSCs is a safe practice, demonstrating treatment efficacy in ameliorating renal function and serologic index. In addition to significant decline of disease activity assessed by SLEDAI and BILAG, UC-MSC infusion ameliorated systemic manifestations in hematopoietic and cutaneous systems.

Our multicenter clinical study illustrated the safety and efficacy of systemic administration of UC-MSCs in SLE patients. However, a repeated MSC infusion is feasible and necessary after 6 months to avoid disease relapse.