MONDAY, April 4, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with myasthenia gravis (MG), treatment with autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) can result in durable, symptom-free, treatment-free remission, according to a study published online April 4 in JAMA Neurology.
Adam Bryant, M.D., from the University of Ottawa in Canada, and colleagues reported seven cases of severe MG treated with autologous HSCT in a retrospective study (six for MG and one for follicular lymphoma with coincident active MG). Patients were followed for a median of 40 months.
The researchers found that five of the patients had immune dysregulation-related concurrent autoimmune or lymphoproliferative illnesses. Distinct clinical and electromyographic evidence of MG was seen in all of the patients. All patients achieved durable complete stable remission according to the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America clinical classification, with freedom from ongoing therapy and no residual symptoms. After autologous HSCT, three patients experienced transient viral reactivations and one developed a secondary autoimmune disease; all of these stabilized or resolved with treatment.
"Autologous HSCT results in long-term symptom- and treatment-free remission in patients with severe MG," the authors write. "The application of autologous HSCT for this and other autoimmune neurologic conditions warrants prospective study."