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Umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of autoimmune diseases: beware of cell-to-cell contact
  1. Alessia Alunno1,
  2. Onelia Bistoni1,
  3. Pia Montanucci2,
  4. Giuseppe Basta2,
  5. Riccardo Calafiore2,
  6. Roberto Gerli1
  1. 1 Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy
  2. 2 Laboratory for Endocrine Cell Transplants and Biohybrid Organs, Section of Cardiovascular, Endocrine and Metabolic Clinical Physiology, Department of Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia, Perugia, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Professor Roberto Gerli, Department of Medicine, University of Perugia, Piazzale Menghini 1, 06129, Perugia, Italy; roberto.gerli{at}

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We have read with great interest the article from Deng and colleagues1 reporting on the results of a randomised, controlled clinical trial of allogeneic umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells (UC-MSCs) for lupus nephritis. The study demonstrated that the administration of intravenous UC-MSCs does not provide additional benefit to conventional immunosuppression.

Over the last decade, increasing evidence has indicated that UC-MSCs are multipotent cells with promising applications to regenerative medicine2 and also a powerful tool to modulate the immune system. UC-MSCs can interact with most immune cell types via both cell–cell contact and secretion …

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  • Contributors All authors drafted and approved the letter.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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