Although modern clinical management strategies have improved the outcome of paediatric patients with severe autoimmune and inflammatory diseases over recent decades, a proportion will experience ongoing or recurrent/relapsing disease activity despite multiple therapies often leading to irreversible organ damage, and compromised quality of life, growth/development and long-term survival. Autologous and allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) have been used successfully to induce disease control and often apparent cure of severe treatment-refractory autoimmune diseases (ADs) in children. However, transplant-related outcomes are disease-dependent and long-term outcome data are limited in respect to efficacy and safety. Moreover, balancing risks of HSCT against AD prognosis with continually evolving non-transplant options is challenging. This review appraises published literature on HSCT strategies and outcomes in individual paediatric ADs. We also provide a summary of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) Registry, where 343 HSCT procedures (176 autologous and 167 allogeneic) have been reported in 326 children (<18 years) for a range of AD indications. HSCT is a promising treatment modality, with potential long-term disease control or cure, but therapy-related morbidity and mortality need to be reduced. Further research is warranted to establish the position of HSCT in paediatric ADs via registries and prospective clinical studies to support evidence-based interspeciality guidelines and recommendations.
- autoimmune diseases
- haematopoietic stem cell transplantation