Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Department of Medicine

Division Chief’s Message

The Division of Immunotherapy for Autoimmune Diseases (DIAD) is laboratory and clinic-based, utilizing methods that allow the safe isolation, manipulation, and preservation of populations of stem cells and immune cells for therapeutic purposes.

Under the direction of Richard Burt, MD, and through Feinberg-affiliated care sites, the division pioneered the use of these cells for severe refractory autoimmune diseases. The DIAD's 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. DIAD pioneered and performed America’s first hematopoietic stem-cell transplants to treat Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Diabetes, Lupus, Crohn’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP), Phemphigus, Dermatomyositis, Devic’s, 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 (DSMB) and depending upon disease are performed in collaboration with numerous Northwestern University Departments and Divisions including  Rheumatology, Neurology, Gastroenterology, Pulmonary, Cardiology, Infectious Disease and many others. Phase I/II HSCT trials were initiated at Northwestern in the 1990s and have now expanded into randomized multi-center trials coordinated at Northwestern for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), multiple sclerosis (MS), Crohn’s disease, and systemic sclerosis. DIAD 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. 

It is funded by grants including Northwestern Medicine’s Excellence in Academic Medicine, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, as well as a generous philanthropic donation and its own clinical revenues. This funding 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.

Richard Burt, MD

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