Stem Cell Therapy: Why It's a Boon for Patients Suffering from Lupus

If you’re one of the 1.5 million Americans suffering from the autoimmune condition known as lupus, you’re familiar with the uncomfortable symptoms and tissue damage the disease causes. Lupus is a long-term disease where your body’s immune system misfires and starts attacking normal, healthy tissue. It causes symptoms that include intense fatigue, joint pain, swelling, and inflammation.

Over time, lupus causes damage to your joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, skin, and blood. Current conventional treatments for lupus include anti-inflammatory drugs and powerful immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory compounds. These include steroids and inhibitor proteins that block inflammation.

These conventional therapies have profound side effects and have been unable to induce remission in many people with lupus. Modern science, however, has revealed a powerful new therapy in the form of mesenchymal stem cells that offers great promise for those suffering from lupus.

Why is lupus so hard to treat?

The exact cause of lupus is unclear. The autoimmune condition affects primarily women -- in fact, 90% of people with lupus are women. It’s extremely complex and affects multiple organs in the body, including the muscles, skin, joints, and kidneys. Because it’s not specific to one certain organ, doctors can’t identify a single specific target area for treatment.

What is stem cell therapy?

There are several kinds of stem cells, derived from cord blood, amniotic fluid, or adult tissues, that are used to treat various diseases and injuries. Mesenchymal stem cells are adult stem cells that have unique immunosuppressive properties. Research suggests that these cells play a key role in preventing autoimmunity. Hematopoietic stem cells found in bone marrow form blood and immune cells; they’re responsible for the production of billions of new blood cells every day. Stem cells can renew themselves, differentiate into specialized cells, and mobilize from the bone marrow into your bloodstream to do their healing work.


Stem cell therapy involves transfusing the cells into the systems of people with lupus. The therapy can potentially lessen the debilitating long-term effects of lupus. With stem cell therapy, you may also have a reduced need for medications such as steroids and all their harmful side effects. The stem cell therapy’s biggest benefit, however, is the potential to stop the damage lupus does to your vital organs.

How does Dr. Small do stem cell therapy for lupus?

Stem cell therapy seeks to destroy the hyperfunctioning immune cells that are causing damage to organs in sufferers of lupus. These cells can cause your body to generate a new, properly functioning immune system.

Dr. Small prefers to use umbilical cord stem cells or your own stem cells for treatment. If using your own stem cells, you first receive injections of a growth factor that prompts your bone marrow to release a large number of stem cells into your bloodstream. We harvest the stem cells and purify them to remove mature, malfunctioning immune cells.

Once we have a sufficient quantity of stem cells, you go through drug or radiation therapy to eliminate mature immune cells. You receive your stem cells through a blood transfusion where they migrate to the bone marrow and mature into highly functioning immune cells to restore a healthy immune system.

Dr. Small uses this revolutionary regenerative medicine technique to restore your immune system and greatly reduce your lupus symptoms and long-term damage to your organs. Call our office in Houston or schedule using this website to find out if you’re a candidate for stem cell therapy.

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