Rheumatoid Arthritis:Tolerance Induction by Mixed Chimerism

Sponsored by Northwestern University

Phase Quota
Phase 1

Rheumatoid arthritis disease is believed to be due to immune cells, cells that normally protect the body and are now causing damage to the body. Risk of death is highest in people with twenty or more joints actively involved with disease, positive rheumatoid factor, an elevated sedimentation rate (laboratory measures of active inflammation), and patients with limitation of daily activities (trouble doing simple things like opening a carton of milk). In these high risk patients, life is significantly shortened. Death is usually from heart disease, kidney failure, neck dislocation, broken hip bones, or blood clots to the lung. In this study we use moderate dose chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide and fludarabine) and CAMPATH-1H (a protein that kills the immune cells that are thought to be causing the disease), followed by infusion of blood stem cells that have been collected from the patient's brother or sister (allogeneic stem cell transplant). The purpose of the moderate dose chemotherapy and CAMPATH-1H is to destroy the cells in the immune system and to allow the cells from the patient's brother or sister to grow. The purpose of the stem cell infusion is to restore blood cell production, which will be severely impaired by the moderate dose chemotherapy and CAMPATH-1H, and to produce a normal immune system that will no longer attack the body.

Study Start Date: September 2002

Estimated Completion Date: September 2018

Specialties: Internal Medicine: Rheumatology Nursing: Ortho/Rheum Rheumatology: Rheumatoid Arthritis Orthopedics: Arthritis/Rheumatology Physician Assistant: Rheumatology


  • Procedure: Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Biological: Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

Inclusion criteria

Participant Inclusion Criteria:

  • Age > 18 and < 60 years at time of pre-transplant evaluation
  • An established clinical diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis by American College of Rheumatology criteria
  • Patients must have failed an autologous hematopoietic transplant or have failed to respond to either methotrexate or leflunomide in combination with a TNF inhibitor. Failure is defined as an inability to tolerate treatment with at least 6 swollen joints and 20 involved joints or inability to answer at least 70% of HAQ questions with "no difficulty" despite 2 or more months of treatment
  • Ability to give informed consent
  • Patient must have a HLA matched sibling donor at the A, B, C, and DR loci to proceed or HLA matched cord blood donor
  • If donor is HLA matched cord blood, cord blood stem cells will be obtained from the NMDP (1-800-548-1375) and one or two units of HLA matched cord blood will be infused on day zero

Exclusion criteria

Participant Exclusion Criteria

  • History of coronary artery disease, or documented congestive heart failure
  • HIV positive
  • Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, or any other illness that in the opinion of the investigators would jeopardize the ability of the patient to tolerate aggressive chemoradiotherapy
  • Prior history of malignancy except localized basal cell or squamous skin cancer. Other malignancies for which the patient is judged to be cured by local surgical therapy, such as head and neck cancer, or stage I breast cancer will be considered on an individual basis
  • Positive pregnancy test, inability or unwillingness to pursue effective means of birth control, failure to willingly accept or comprehend irreversible sterility as a side effect of therapy
  • Psychiatric illness or mental deficiency making compliance with treatment or informed consent impossible
  • FEV1/FVC < 70% of predicted, DLCO < 40% of predicted
  • Resting LVEF < 45 %
  • Bilirubin > 2.0 mg/dl (unless due to Gilberts), transferase (AST) > 2.5 x upper limit of normal
  • Serum creatinine > 2.0 mg/dl

Donor Exclusion Criteria

  • Age < 18 years
  • Positive for HIV-1, HIV-2, HTLV-I, HTLV-II
  • Active hepatitis B or C
  • History of a malignancy except for a localized cancer such as skin cancer that is deemed cured
  • History of myocardial infarction or congestive heart failure
  • Inability to give informed consent
  • Current pregnancy

Study Locations And Contact Information

  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago Illinois

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