Doctors claim to have likely successfully treated yet another HIV patient with a specialized stem cell transplant. The patient is the first known woman to undergo the procedure and has been HIV-free for six years.
The doctors used a novel method to transplant stem cells simultaneously from a relative and a donor’s umbilical cord blood. This could make transplants more common.
Earlier this year, the patient’s doctors spoke about her ongoing case at an HIV-related science conference. In the journal Cell, they published a case study with peer review on Thursday. The woman is only identified as the New York patient, following the practice of other patients treated with donor stem cells and most likely cured.
After being diagnosed, the woman’s HIV was well controlled, according to the paper. Sadly, she also developed acute myeloid leukemia, cancer that affects white blood cells, four years after her diagnosis. She was, however, a suitable candidate for a unique treatment because of the combination of the two diseases.
Stem cell transplants are frequently used to treat leukemia because they can restore a patient’s immune system after cancer treatment. The hope is that you can transfer HIV resistance by transplanting stem cells from a person with a mutation that naturally makes them immune to the virus to a person with HIV. This will allow their bodies to eliminate the virus permanently.