Is There An HIV Cure? A First Woman Has Apparently Been Cured Of HIV.
Researchers claimed on Tuesday that a leukemia patient in the United States has become the first woman and only the third person to be cured of HIV after getting a bone marrow transplant from a donor who was naturally resistant to the AIDS-causing virus.
The example of a 64-year-old mixed-race lady, presented in Denver at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, is also the first to use umbilical cord blood, a newer strategy that could make the treatment more accessible to more individuals.
The woman has remained in remission and clear of the virus for 14 months since getting cord blood to treat her acute myeloid leukemia – a malignancy that begins in blood-forming cells in the bone marrow – without the need for antiretroviral medicine.
The previous two examples included guys, one white and the other Latino, who had received adult stem cells, which are more commonly employed in bone marrow transplants.
“This is the third case of a cure in this scenario, and the first in a woman living with HIV,” Sharon Lewin, President-Elect of the International AIDS Society, stated in a statement.
Dr. Yvonne Bryson of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Dr. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore are leading a bigger US-funded study on the subject. Its goal is to track 25 HIV-positive persons who receive a stem cell transplant from umbilical cord blood to cure cancer and other serious illnesses.
The malignant immune cells in the study participants are first treated with chemotherapy to kill them. Doctors then transplant stem cells from people who have an unique genetic mutation that prevents the virus from infecting cells.
These people, according to scientists, develop an immune system that is resistant to HIV.
Bone marrow transplants, according to Lewin, are not a viable option for curing most HIV patients. However, the findings “confirms that an HIV cure is conceivable and reinforces the case for gene therapy as a realistic option for an HIV cure.”
According to the findings, the transplantation of HIV-resistant cells is an essential factor in the success of the experiment. Scientists previously thought that graft-versus-host disease, a common stem cell transplant side effect in which the donor immune system assaults the recipient’s immune system, had a part in a prospective therapy.
“When taken together, these three cases of a cure following a stem cell transplant all contribute in separating out the many components of the transplant that were absolutely critical to a cure,” Lewin said.