Systemic sclerosis (SScl) is an autoimmune disorder of unknown aetiology, characterised by fibrosis and microvascular injury of the affected organs. The hallmark of the disease is thickening and tightness of the skin
and the subcutaneous tissue. SScl can affect virtually any organ systems, most importantly the skin, blood vessels, lungs, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and the heart. From Hippocrates who was the first to describe the illness as “thickened skin” and later in 1836 when Giovambattista Fantonetti coined the term “scleroderma” we have made little progress in comparison with other autoimmune diseases
treating the patient’s symptoms rather than treating the disease in sine. On the other hand, the overall survival has been improved dramatically over the last years, but there is still no specific treatment. In the last years, the autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
(AHSCT) has been proposed as a therapeutic modality for severe cases of SScl. The first transplantations in autoimmune disorders have been performed in 1994 and the procedure was considered experimental for a very long time until the results of several trials proved its efficacy in SScl patients.
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