Light At The End of the Tunnel? Woman Cured of HIV After Stem Cell Transplant

A “past middle-aged woman” who chose not to be identified in the interest of privacy who suffered from leukemia in Denver, United States and also said to be diagnosed of the dreaded HIV, have been cured of the virus by a first-of-its-kind stem cell transplant from new. She is the first woman — and third person ever to be cured of this dreaded ailment.

Her story was presented as a case study at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Denver and SABC News reports that she has been free of HIV for 14 months and is in remission from leukemia.

The doctors who treated her used umbilical cord blood, which is an innovative new method. She was initially receiving the blood as part of her leukemia treatment, but doctors noticed it eliminated the HIV from her body without any antiretroviral (ARV) pill.

According to report by Reuters, in the past, two men who had been separately treated for HIV through adult stem cell transplants were cured and scientists and doctors predict that umbilical cord transplants will pave the way for HIV treatment in the future.

The head of the International AIDS Society, Sharon Lewin, said that this case proves that gene therapy is a successful method of treating HIV patients. Currently, it’s still not a very accessible treatment. Lewin added that scientists need to find ways to make stem cell transplants more cost-effective and easier to administer. “Taken together, these three cases of a cure post stem cell transplant all help in teasing out the various components of the transplant that were absolutely key to a cure,” Lewin said.

Netizens are excited by the news and hopeful that the new scientific discovery will mean an HIV-free future

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