HIV Cure: New Hope with Stem Cell Transplant


eMediNexus    23 February 2023

Experts on Wednesday reported that a 53-year-old HIV positive man who underwent a stem cell transplant to treat his blood malignancy became the third person to ever be entirely cured of the HIV. Such a stem cell transplant is also known as a bone marrow transplant. But it′s still unclear whether such a transplant will "change the game" for all HIV patients.


According to the study published in the Nature Medicine, the patient′s bone marrow cells were replaced with HIV-resistant stem cells from a healthy donor. The DNA of the healthy donor had a mutation in the HIV-1 co-receptor CCR5 gene. This mutation prevents most HIV viruses from entering the human CD4+ T-lymphocytes, their primary target cells.


A similar technique is said to have previously cured two people with HIV and cancer in Berlin and London.


Prof. Julian Schulze zur Wiesch, one of the study′s leading experts and a DZIF scientist at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendor, said that this case of stem cell transplantation successfully treating a chronic HIV infection demonstrates that HIV can, theoretically, be cured.


Although the findings offer HIV patients some new hope, HIV patients without leukaemia cannot get bone marrow replacement therapy. There is a danger that someone will reject a donor′s marrow during the high-risk operation.


Further, Dr. Neha Rastogi Panda, Senior Consultant Infectious Disease at Fortis hospital, Gurugram, said several pre-, peri-, and post-transplant related issues are associated with a bone marrow transplant. Different types of recurrent infections have been observed in many transplants done for blood cancers.


Dr. Ishwar Gilada, President of the AIDS Society of India, stated that all three patients had leukaemia, a type of blood cancer that typically occurs in a very small percentage of HIV-positive individuals. The HIV cure is the byproduct of blood cancer treatment; hence it is not being promoted for all other HIV-positive people.


(Source:  https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/will-stem-cell-transplant-be-a-game-changer-in-hiv-cure/98162842)

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