hivaids bone marrow

Incompatible Bone Marrow? Umbilical Cord Transplantation is here with a bang!

Healthcare Pharmaceuticals

Last month, a piece of news was flashed, which stated that a woman based out of New York got away with HIV/AIDS through the same cord blood transplant that she had received while getting treated for leukemia. Though she had received this transplant in August 2017, the fact that she has been cured of HIV/AIDS has surfaced more than 4 years later.

Dream come True!

It is a known fact that even though HIV-AIDS Testing, in the present scenario, comes across as one of the treatable conditions for the ones having access to antiviral drugs, the virus does rebound once the intake of these drugs is stopped. As stated above, 4.5 years post-transplant followed by no detectable virus 14 months post-stoppage of drugs, this patient is the 3rd person getting cured of HIV. Since the year 1981, IV has infected more than 80 Mn people across the globe.

For Milano, director of the Hutch’s Cord Blood Transplant Program, it was nothing short of a dream come true! He had, in fact being working since several years for launching a clinical trial along the similar lines, which could help in curing patients suffering from HIV as well as leukemia.

Milano, along with Kiem, do play safe while conducting this transplant. In other words, they, during transplant, state that the basic purpose of transplant is to cure leukemia (blood cancer), but it could end up curing HIV as well.

The funding happens from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, wherein the phase 2 trial implies enrolling 10 patients suffering from leukemia who also turn out to be HIV-positive. As such, transplanted stem cells would be received from the cord blood. The interesting part over here is that this cord blood would be coming from the donors having rare genes conferring sizable resistance to HIV Therapeutics. This would be the fact Milano and Kiem would be banking on.

The participants all over the trial are also likely to get 2nd infusion of the cord blood-derived cells for rendering protection to the patients against infection at the time of various vulnerable weeks prior to transplanted stem cells engraft, thereby rebuilding a 100% functional immune system.

Herein, that New York-baased patient did receive bridge of infection-protection before engraftment. However, in her case, none other than a close relative had donated the immune cells. So, in medical terms, it could be termed as “haploidentical transplant”.

Constraint with Conventional Bone Marrow/Blood Stem cell Transportation

Traditional Bone Marrow Transplantation or blood stem cell transportation is certainly a risky and complex procedure for the ones suffering from blood cancers. This procedure does swap out the patient’s diseased blood-forming cells with various healthy replacements from donor. Firstly, the immune system of the patient is destroyed with chemotherapy drugs and radiation. Thereafter, a unit of the blood-forming cells (the ones obtained from donor) is infused. And this is not all. If transplanted cells get well-engrafted in patient, the chances of him/her living a life free of cancer are pretty good.

These transplants need recipient and donor to follow inherited traits. Siblings prove to be the best match over here. However, every patient can’t be lucky enough to get it from sibling (s). As many as 70% of the patients require access to the potential donors’ registries for finding more compatible kinds of issues.

The Trailblazers

Milano came up with the idea of umbilical cord blood transplantation to help the patients who struggle for compatible donors in the first place. This discovery is bound to create greater strides in the healthcare vertical in the years to come.

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