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Transplantation of stem cells allows for achieving conspicuous positive results in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Indications for transplantation of stem cells in patients with rheumatoid arthritis are as follows:

• rheumatoid arthritis resistant to standard treatment;

• ineffective anti-inflammatory drug therapy, including glucocorticoids and cytostatics;

• marked decrease in functional capacity of joints;

• trophic disturbances of the musculoskeletal system (complications of rheumatoid arthritis);

• considerable deviations of immunologic and hemopoetic parameters.

For treating patients with seropositive, seronegative rheumatoid arthritis of activity grades I–III, with joint functional insufficiency of grades I–III, stem cells of mesodermal, ectodermal, and endodermal origin are used.

As early as within the first days after transplantation, the early post-transplantation improvement syndrome is observed in all patients: diminishing weakness, increased motion activity, normalization of sleep, improved appetite.

Within three months after transplantation, inflammatory process activity decreases: morning stiffness, joint tenderness and oedema diminish, Ritchie’s index decreases, patients’ functional capacity improves; ESR decreases or returns to normal; C-reactive protein levels and rheumatoid factor titer decline; CD3+, CD8+, and NK lymphocyte count is restored. 

In most cases (85%), complete discontinuation or considerable dose reduction of glucocorticoids and non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) had been achieved. According to X-ray data, no progression of joint damage is observed in 72% of patients. 

In 80% patients it was possible to achieve remission along with better quality of life. Remission lasted from six months to three years. Experience shows that clinical remission starts well before improvement of laboratory parameters. In case of unfavourable clinical course of rheumatoid arthritis, repeated transplantations of stem cells are carried out.