A woman was cured of HIV thanks to a novel treatment with umbilical cord blood

Electromicrographic Scanning of an HIV-Infected T Cell (NIAID) (NIAID/)

A mixed-race woman is the third person to be cured of HIVas reported New York Times. She was subjected to a new method of transplant involving umbilical cord blood, which would open up the possibility of curing more people of diverse racial origins than before, according to the scientists in charge of the procedure, who presented some of the details of the new case on Tuesday at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Denver, Colorado, USA.

Umbilical cord blood is more available than adult stem cells, and they don’t need to match the receiver as closely. This is good news, as the majority of donors on the registries are Caucasian, so allowing only a partial match has the potential to cure dozens of people who have both HIV and cancer each yearaccording to scientists.

The patient, who also had leukemia, received umbilical cord blood to treat her cancer, which came from a partially matched donor. In addition, he received blood from a close relative to give his body temporary immune defenses while the transplant lasted.

“The fact that she is mestizo and that she is a woman is very important from a scientific point of view and very important in terms of the impact on the community”said to NYT Dr. Steven Deeks, an AIDS expert at the University of California, San Francisco.

World day against AIDS.
Worldwide, almost 38 million people are living with HIV and about 73 percent of them are receiving treatment

Only two other individuals with HIV have been successfully cured, and there have been many other failed attempts. Timothy Ray Brownthe call “Berlin patient”, remained virus-free for 12 years, until he died in 2020 of cancer. In 2019, It was reported that the “london patientlater identified as Adam Castillejo, was cured of HIV.

Both men received bone marrow transplants from donors who carried a mutation that blocks HIV infection.. The mutation has been identified in only about 20,000 donors, most of whom are of northern European descent.

In these cases, both men suffered punitive side effects after their transplants, including graft-versus-host disease, a condition in which the donor’s cells attack the recipient’s body. Brown nearly died after his transplant, and Castillejo’s treatment was less intense, but in the year after your transplantlost more than 30 kilos, developed hearing loss and survived multiple infections.

Instead, the woman in the latter case left the hospital on the 17th day after her transplant and did not develop graft-versus-host disease, according to Dr. JingMei Hsu, the patient’s physician at Weill Cornell Medicine. The combination of the umbilical cord blood and her relative’s cells could have spared her many of the brutal side effects of a typical bone marrow transplant.

Antiretroviral drugs can control HIV, but a cure is key to ending the pandemic. Worldwide, nearly 38 million people are living with HIV and about 73% of them are receiving treatment.

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They warn that the strategy used to cure HIV “is expensive and is not accessible to the general population”