Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Department of Medicine
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Division Chief’s Message

Richard Burt, MD

The division’s clinical center is the only one in the world devoted to a unique area of treatment and research utilizing stem-cell transplantation in clinical trials for autoimmune diseases and vascular diseases.”

Richard Burt, MD
Chief, Division of Immunotherapy for Autoimmune Diseases
Professor of Medicine

The Division of Immunotherapy for Autoimmune Diseases develops methods that allow the safe isolation, manipulation and preservation of populations of stem cells and immune cells for therapeutic purposes.

Through Feinberg-affiliated care sites, the division pioneered the use of these cells for severe refractory autoimmune diseases. Our division’s Northwestern Medicine clinical center is the only one in the world devoted to a unique area of treatment and research utilizing stem-cell transplantation in clinical trials for autoimmune diseases and vascular diseases. The center performed the United States’ first hematopoietic stem-cell transplants to treat multiple sclerosis, diabetes, lupus, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, phemphigus, dermatomyositis, Devic’s disease, myasthenia gravis, polymositis and scleroderma.

All protocols are approved by the Institutional Review Board and the Food and Drug Administration and report to an independent Data Safety Monitoring Board and, depending upon the disease, are performed in collaboration with numerous Northwestern University departments and divisions. Phase I/II hematopoietic stem cell transplantation trials were initiated at Northwestern in the 1990s and have now expanded into randomized multi-center trials coordinated at Northwestern for systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and systemic sclerosis. Our division is running international randomized phase III stem-cell trials for systemic sclerosis in Sao Paulo, Singapore, and Chicago; for multiple sclerosis in Sao Paulo, Stockholm (Sweden), Sheffield (United Kingdom) and Chicago; and for type I diabetes in Sao Paulo and Chicago. 

Funding by way of grants, generous philanthropic donations and clinical revenues supports the research and advancement of stem-cell utilization in the treatment of autoimmune diseases at Northwestern Medicine.

Thank you for your interest in our division. I welcome you to contact us for more information.

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