stem cell transplantation

Stem Cell Transplantation – a Breakthrough in Treating HIV?

Healthcare Pharmaceuticals

As per the US researchers, a woman infected with HIV has been cured of it by making use of cutting-edge stem cell transplant method.

One of the unidentified patients of the New York who was suffering from Leukemia is now amongst the 4 patients free from HIV post-experimental treatments. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has reported that researchers from “Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections” have stated that she is the very first woman having infected with HIV.

How was the Treatment done?

The NIH has gone on records to state that this lady, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia had undergone stem cell treatment in the year 2017. As such, she was subject to an advanced-level study wherein the researchers could examine if exclusive umbilical cord stem cells that were used to treat her were abreast with specialized mutation that renders them resistant to the HIV infection.

100 days following the procedure, the blood was again tested, wherein it was found that there were no traces of HIV therein. HIV-specific treatment was eventually stopped after 37 months of transplant. Thereafter (14 months later – to be precise), she was again tested, and her results were negative.

When it comes to stem cell transplants, the first thing that the doctors do is killing off the immune system of patients using chemotherapy. The second step is that of injecting stem cells into the bloodstream of patients hoping that they would differentiate into the ones required for a functioning immune system, like the ones found in bone marrow. These differentiated cells then carry stem cells’ genetic markers. In this case, the woman’s novel immune cells offered resistance against HIV.

It has been observed that the other modern-day HIV treatments don’t eliminate virus completely. This stem cell treatment is pretty toxic and arduous due to chemotherapy process. That’s why two patients out of the rest three (who were reported to have cured of HIV) has witnessed cell transplants as well.

The other Three Patients

Timothy Ray Brown, better known all over the world as “the Berlin patient”, was the first one to get rid of HIV in the year 2008 after the doctors went on to perform stem cell transplant from one of the donors who was naturally immune to HIV. However, he died of leukemia in the year 2020.

The second person getting cured is Adam Castillejo, also known as the “London patient”.

The third case implied that CCRΔ5/Δ32 cord stem cell transplantation should be looked at for achieving HIVB remission as well as cure for those living with HIV who need such transplants for the other ailments.

There was one more case of a person based out of Brazil who showed no symptoms of HIV for more than 12 months after stopping the intake of HIV medicines post a stern experimental drug therapy.

In a nutshell, this landmark result is bound to see the proliferation of stem cell transplantation in the healthcare vertical in the near future.

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