A Study using a man-made, blood-forming stem cells has shown a promising effect in animal experiments in suppressing HIV.But now a support from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has funded the said study using bioengineered stem cells to treat HIV patients.
And the first recipient to be cured of HIV is Timothy after a bone marrow transplant treated his leukemia. He is popularly known as the ‘Berlin Patient.’
Spanish medical professionals believe that they can treat the virus by using the blood transplant process from the umbilical cords of the patient with a genetic resistance to HIV, and this proved that the procedure was successful with one patient.
Another man from Barcelona, 37, who had the same case with HIV Virus in 2009, was also cured of the condition after receiving blood transplant.
Barcelona doctors did their initial attempt using the technique used to Timothy Brown, an HIV patient who developed leukemia before receiving the experimental treatment in Berlin.
He was given bone marrow from a donor who carried the resistance mutation from HIV. after the treatment, the virus disappeared.
The CCR5 Delta 35 mutation affects a protein in the white blood cells in the body and provides an estimated one percent of the human population with high resistance to infection from HIV.
“We suggested a transplant of blood from an umbilical cord but from someone who had the mutation because we knew from ‘the Berlin patient’ that as well as [ending] the cancer, we could also eradicate HIV,” Rafael Duarte, the director of the Haematopoietic Transplant Programme at the Catalan Oncology Institute in Barcelona, told The Local.
But it’s not yet down, because the process of curing HIV referred to by the professionals is calld Stem Cell Transplant.
To begin with, getting a Stem Cell Transplant is much more dangerous than living with HIV.
To successfully complete an SCT you have to completely destroy the stem cells in your bone marrow using intense conditioning resulting in:
1. Low/No white blood cells – [no ability to fight off infection, meaning even something as small as flu could end your life]
2. Low Platelets – [heavy risk of uncontrollable bleeding- a nosebleed would most likely to end your life)
3. Low hemoglobin – [you will need many, many blood transfusions]
4. Graft vs Host disease – [which can cause really poor quality of life or end your life]
5. A long time spent in hospital – [weeks to months, if not a year plus].
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