Stem cell transplant suppresses AIDS symptoms

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(ORDO NEWS) — It is believed that a person with AIDS will suffer from it all his life, but every year doctors find new ways to live with this disease. And this time, the “cure” came from another deadly disease – blood cancer.

AIDS is nasty enough on its own, and each year more than half a million people die from AIDS-related illnesses.

Fortunately, this figure is steadily falling, and today there are about 40 million people living with a diagnosis of ” HIV infection” in the world.

Many of them lead an almost normal life, even if they are forced to regularly take medications that suppress viral activity.

However, in January 2011, a 53-year-old HIV-infected man was diagnosed with an equally terrible diagnosis – “acute myeloid leukemia “, or blood cancer, which, if left untreated, leads to the death of the patient within a few months.

This disease is mainly treated with chemotherapy, but sometimes hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is also used, which is designed to replace the patient’s “defective” hematopoietic cells with normal cells from the donor’s bone marrow.

In February 2013, the patient underwent a CCR5∆32/∆32 stem cell transplant, in which the cell donor was a woman with two copies of the ∆32 mutation in the gene encoding the HIV co-receptor CCR5: such cells are resistant to infection with the immunodeficiency virus.

This ensures that after transplantation, the new cells will function normally in the body of an HIV-infected recipient.

After a course of chemotherapy and several infusions of donor lymphocytes, the patient continued to take antiviral drugs, but there were no traces of the virus in his blood cells.

In November 2018, antiretroviral therapy was suspended with the consent of the patient, but doctors did not detect an increase in the concentration of viruses or the body’s immune response either immediately after stopping treatment or four years later.

In other words, the authors of the study conclude, although the hematopoietic stem cell transplant procedure is considered rather risky and is performed on a small number of patients with severe forms of blood cancer, in the future it may become the basis for a new treatment for AIDS.


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