Over the past 15 years, SCT has emerged as a promising treatment option for patients with severe autoimmune diseases (ADs). Mechanistic studies recently provided the proof-of-concept that restoration of immunological tolerance can be achieved by haematopoietic SCT in chronic autoimmunity through eradication of the pathologic, immunologic memory and profound reconfiguration of the immune system, that is, immune 'resetting'. Nevertheless, a number of areas remain unresolved and warrant further investigation to refine our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of action and to optimize clinical SCT protocols. Due to the low number of patients transplanted in each centre, it is essential to adequately collect and analyse biological samples in a larger cohort of patients under standardized conditions. The European society for blood and marrow transplantation Autoimmune Diseases and Immunobiology Working Parties have, therefore, undertaken a joint initiative to develop and implement guidelines for 'good laboratory practice' in relation to procurement, processing, storage and analysis of biological specimens for immune reconstitution studies in AD patients before, during and after SCT. The aim of this document is to provide practical recommendations for biobanking of samples and laboratory immune monitoring in patients with ADs undergoing SCT, both for routine supportive care purposes and investigational studies.
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