First of Its Kind Adult Stem Cell Trial in Lupus


The Lupus Foundation of America will provide $3.8 million to support a five-year, first-of-its-kind clinical trial in the United States to evaluate adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) as a treatment for lupus. This study marks a bold step forward in lupus research.

The study led by Drs. Gary Gilkeson and Diane Kamen of the Medical University of South Carolina will build on promising research done in China to see how patients given both the mesenchymal stem cell therapy and standard lupus therapies respond compared with patients who are only given standard therapies. Like any treatment, stem cell therapy must first be rigorously tested to determine if it is as safe and effective as previous research suggests and more effective than the standard for treatment alone.

The phase II trial will enroll 81 individuals with lupus whose disease is not responding to current therapies. Study enrollment will begin in early 2018 and expand to six additional academic centers in Atlanta, Chapel Hill, Chicago, Los Angeles, Rochester, New York City and San Diego.

The Lupus Foundation of America has long been a leader in pioneering basic and clinical adult stem cell research. Since 2007, the Lupus Foundation of America has awarded $1.2 million to researchers investigating stem cells as a treatment for lupus and severe manifestations of the disease. Learn more about our history in supporting stem cell research.

We Need New Treatments Now

Mesenchymal stem cell therapy holds promise as a safe and effective alternative for people with lupus who are not benefitting from the current treatments available. If successful, this therapy may diminish the often debilitating long-term effects of lupus, reduce the need for medications like steroids with harmful side effects and stop damage to vital organs

It took more than 50 years for a new drug to be approved for lupus, and it does not work for everyone. We believe people with lupus deserve more and better treatment options, and this study provides hope for the future.


If you'd like to support the Lupus Foundation of America's National Research Program, please consider making a dedicated gift.

By supporting cutting-edge research with your own generous contribution, you can change the future for tens of thousands of people with lupus. Together, we can provide hope and change the future for people with lupus NOW.