Scientists Cure HIV In Woman For The First Time Using Stem Cell Transplant
The mixed race middle-aged woman has been in remission and free of HIV for 14 months and that too without the need for potent treatments known as antiretrovial therapy.
Washington DC : A woman having leukemia appears to be the first woman and the third person ever to be cured of HIV after receiving a cutting edge stem cell transplant method in a breakthrough moment.
The researchers expect that at least several dozen people annually can avail similar treatment.
This case happened to be the first case which involved umbilical cord blood to treat acute myeloid leukemia, which starts in blood-forming cells in the bone marrow. The case was presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunisitic Infections in the US city of Denver on 15 February.
The mixed race middle-aged woman has been in remission and free of HIV for 14 months and that too without the need for potent treatments known as antiretrovial therapy, ever since she received the cord blood.
The researchers are of the view that this new approach could make the treatment available to more people.
Carl Dieffenbach, director of the Division of AIDS at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, one of multiple divisions of the National Institutes of Health that funds the research network behind the new case study, has told the media that the accumulation of repeated apparent successes in curing HIV "continues to provide hope."
Earlier, Timothy Ray Brown, an America national, was treated for acute myeloid leukemia, or AML by investigators. He received a stem cell transplant from a donor who had a rare genetic abnormality that grants the immune cells that HIV targets natural resistance to the virus.
The strategy applied in Brown's case was first made public in 2008 and has apparently cured HIV in two other people. But, it has also failed in various others.
This therapeutic process is meant to replace the immune system of an individual with another person's thereby treating their cancer while also curing their HIV.
Firstly, physicians need to destroy the original immune system with chemotherapy and sometimes irradiation. The hope is that this also destroys as many immune cells as possible that still quietly harbor HIV despite effective antiretroviral treatment.
Then, new viral copies that might emerge from any remaining infected cells will not be able to infect any other immune cells, provided the transplanted HIV-resistant stem cells engraft properly.
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