Stem Cell Transplantation Cures Woman Of HIV In Breakthrough Treatment

The American researchers utilized a novel type of stem cell transplantation that they believe will be used on dozens of people each year.

The procedure, which involves the use of umbilical cord blood, could lead to more racially diverse people being healed than was previously thought conceivable, according to scientists who reported this at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Denver, Colorado on Tuesday.

The woman was a participant in a 2015 study. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the study’s goal was to track the progress of 25 HIV-positive persons in the United States who received a transplant.

An infectious disease physician at UCLA, who led the study, Dr. Yvonne Bryson has discussed their team’s findings along with the patient’s condition at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections this week.

Bryson in a press conference said, “Today, we reported the third known case of HIV remission and the first woman following a stem cell transplant and using HIV-resistant cells.

“This case is special for several reasons: First, our participant was a U.S. woman living with HIV of mixed race, who needed a stem cell transplant for treatment of her leukemia. And she would find a more difficult time finding both a genetic match and one with the HIV-resistant mutation to both cure her cancer and potentially her HIV. This is a natural, but rare mutation.”

While this approach of using genetically-matched umbilical cord blood with HIV-resistant mutation opens the door to more diverse populations and studies, Bryson confirmed that there is no current routine screening in place in the U.S. for this mutation.

Only two men have been cured of HIV using bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the past. Although this is the third known case, experts in the field caution that this method is not ideal for curing the many millions of HIV-positive people around the globe today.

Bryson said there could eventually be “approximately at least 50 [people] per year that may benefit from this.”

The Community Health Center, Inc., Dr. Anthony Fauci in an interview said, “I don’t want people to think that now this is something that can be applied to the 36 million people [globally] who are living with HIV.”

“This person had an underlying disease that required a stem cell transplant.

It is not practical to think that this is something that’s going to be widely available,” Fauci added. “It’s more of a proof of concept.”

While there is no practical and applicable cure for HIV on a large scale, there have been incredible strides in HIV treatment over the years that allow individuals to live a normal and healthy life.

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