First woman cured of HIV via new stem cell treatment
An American woman has become the third person to be cured of HIV via a stem cell transplant from a donor who is resistant to the virus.
The treatment was made possible by using a person’s umbilical cord blood who is resistant to the AIDS virus. The person was receiving this blood as a treatment for her acute myeloid leukemia and has now been in remission for AIDS for over 14 months.
This treatment is an alternative to the harsher antiretroviral treatments commonly used to treat HIV/AIDS patients.
The case is the first woman cured of HIV.
A larger study
This cure is part of a larger study conducted by two scientists from Johns Hopkins University and the University of California Los Angeles.
According to Reuters, “It aims to follow 25 people with HIV who undergo a transplant with stem cells taken from umbilical cord blood for the treatment of cancer and other serious conditions.”
The patients first undergo chemotherapy to kill the cancerous cells. Next, they do the stem cell transplant. These cells come from someone whose immune system can handle the virus, and thus help train the immune system.
The woman cured is a mixed-race woman, making it a little harder to find a match for her cells. Since most genetic abnormalities that enable HIV resistance is found in people who have ancestry mostly from northern Europe, it was harder to find her a match.
Also, stem cell transplants can be dangerous and are only permitted if the patient truly needs them.
Against all odds, the doctors managed to not only find a donor (an infant) but the patient successfully went through and recovered from the procedure.
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