Immunity deficiency Virus

Scientists announced this week that the first woman has been completely cured of HIV, using a new transplant method that includes the transplantation of umbilical cord blood, which helps open new horizons for treatment than the previous one.

HIV is a chronic condition, often caused by damage to the immune system, so the virus interferes with the body’s ability to fight disease-causing organisms.

The number of HIV infections has reached about 79.3 million people globally, and young women between the ages of 15 to 24 years are twice as likely to be infected with HIV than men, with an average of about 5,000 young women between 15 and 24 years being infected with the virus.

Although powerful antiretroviral drugs help control HIV, the death rate from AIDS-related diseases has reached about 36.3 people, so treatment is the key to ending the decades-old epidemic.

Scientists have turned to bone marrow transplants that contain adult stem cells, but there have been only two known cures of HIV so far.

The first case is Timothy Ray Brown (aka the Berlin patient), who remained virus-free for 12 years after treatment, until he died in 2020 of cancer, and the second case was reported to have recovered in 2019, and it was of a patient named Adam Castillejo, which confirms that Mr. Brown was not just lucky.

In both cases, both men underwent bone marrow transplants from donors who carry a mutation that prevents HIV.

When the transplanted bone marrow replaced all of their immune systems, the two men experienced severe side effects: the donor cells attacked the recipient’s body. Mr. Brown almost died after the transplant, while Mr. Castillejo’s treatment was less severe, but in the year after the transplant he lost Approximately 70 pounds, he developed hearing loss and survived multiple infections, according to his treating physicians.

Therefore, a bone marrow transplant is not a realistic option for most patients. Transplants are considered very risky. So it is generally only offered to people who have exhausted all other options.

This made scientists turn to a new transplant method that includes transplanting umbilical cord blood instead of adult stem cells, which are used in bone marrow transplants that treated previous patients; This is due to the availability of more and more umbilical cord blood, in addition to the fact that this type of cells does not need to be closely matched to the recipient, but only partial matching can be allowed.

In this woman’s case, she underwent a cord blood transplant to treat AIDS from a partially matched donor with a mutation that prevents HIV from entering cells, and received blood from a close relative; To give her body a temporary immune boost during the transplant procedure; This is because cord blood cells may take about six weeks to engulf and become effective.

In contrast to the previous two cases, the woman left the hospital after the seventeenth day after transplantation and did not develop complications, and Dr. Jingmei Hsu, the treating physician at Weill Cornell Hospital, added: “The combination of umbilical cord blood and her relative’s cells may have saved her significantly. a significant and brutal side effect of a typical bone marrow transplant.”

37 months after transplant, the woman had stopped antiretroviral drugs, and then after more than 14 months she still had no signs of HIV, including blood tests, and did not appear to have detectable HIV antibodies .

In the end, despite this mutation, scientists still do not know why stem cells taken from umbilical cord blood work so well than other types of cells, but it is most likely that this type is more able to adapt to a new environment, in addition, it may contain cells Cord blood also contains elements beyond the stem cells that aid in the transplant process.


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