Autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation for refractory stiff-person syndrome: the UK experience.
Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS) is a rare immune-mediated disabling neurological disorder characterised by muscle spasms and high GAD antibodies. There are only a few case reports of autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (auto-HSCT) as a treatment for SPS.To describe the UK experience of treating refractory SPS with auto-HSCT.Between 2015 and 2019, 10 patients with SPS were referred to our institution for consideration of auto-HSCT. Eight patients were deemed suitable for autograft and four were treated. Of the treated patients, three had classical SPS and one had the progressive encephalomyelitis with rigidity and myoclonus variant. All patients were significantly disabled and had failed conventional immunosuppressive therapy. Patients were mobilised with Cyclophosphamide (Cy) 2 g/m2 + G-CSF and conditioned with Cy 200 mg/kg + ATG followed by auto-HSCT.Despite their significantly reduced performance status, all patients tolerated the procedure with no unexpected toxicities. Following autograft, all patients improved symptomatically and stopped all forms of immunosuppressive therapies. Two patients were able to ambulate independently from being wheelchair dependent. One patient’s walking distance improved from 300 meters to 5 miles and one patient’s ambulation improved from being confined to a wheelchair to be able to walk with a frame. Two patients became seronegative for anti-GAD antibodies and normalised their neurophysiological abnormalities.Auto-HSCT is an intensive but well tolerated and effective treatment option for patients with SPS refractory to conventional immunotherapy. Further work is warranted to optimise patient selection and establish the efficacy, long-term safety, and cost-effectiveness of this treatment.