3rd person cured of HIV after stem cell transplant, scientists say

A U.S. woman of mixed race has become the third person in the world believed to be cured of HIV, scientists said Feb. 15, according to The New York Times.

The woman, who also had myelogenous leukemia, underwent a novel stem cell transplant method in August 2020 that used umbilical cord blood from a partially matched donor who was naturally resistant to HIV because of a genetic mutation. Physicians also gave the woman blood stem cells from a relative as a temporary defense until the cord blood transplant took effect. More than a year later, researchers have found no sign of HIV in the woman's blood tests.

The previous two patients believed to be cured of HIV were treated with a bone marrow transplant technique from donors naturally resistant to HIV.

Scientists said the cord blood transplant method creates an opportunity to cure more people of diverse racial backgrounds who have both HIV and cancer, as cord blood is more readily available than stem cells and donors do not need to match as closely, according to the Times.

Researchers presented their findings this week at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Denver.

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