According to CNN, a woman in the United States was cured of HIV infection for the first time after a stem cell transplant – previous cases of recovery were observed only in men.
In 2017, an unnamed patient underwent a stem cell transplant from a donor’s umbilical cord blood, which had an HIV-resistant mutation in her blood. The woman also received blood from a close relative to provide temporary immunity until the cord blood cells became dominant, which takes six weeks. Three years after transplantation, the woman stopped taking antiretroviral therapy, and 14 months later, the virus in the body ceased to be detected.
The researchers note that the combination of cord blood and cells from a relative allowed the woman to avoid side effects when donor cells attack the transplant recipient. However, this type of treatment is suitable for a limited number of people due to high risks: stem cell transplantation in 20% of cases can lead to death and serious health problems. This patient was diagnosed with myeloid leukemia and needed surgery.
Recall that the first person to be officially cured of HIV infection was the American Timothy Ray Brown – for this, two bone marrow transplants were performed in 2007. In addition, two cases are known when women got rid of HIV without medication.