A Cure for HIV
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hiv cure

An infection with HIV isn't the death sentence it was forty years ago. But without the powerful anti-retroviral drugs keeping the virus from replicating, a patient develops AIDS which does kill.

That's why scientists have been pushing for a cure and so far three people in the world remain HIV free after their treatments. The latest is a mixed-race woman who was successfully treated using stem cells from umbilical cord blood rather than bone marrow which was used for the first two cured patients.

Both approaches keep the virus from entering healthy cells where it normally inserts its genetic information, replicates, and stays for the life of the cell. The treatment involves removing all bone marrow cells and replacing them with cells that don't have receptors for the virus to bind and enter. These replacement cells carry a mutation in this receptor so that it's no longer on the cell surface. This makes it resistant to HIV infection since the virus can no longer bind.

Since transplants of these mutated stem cells from the bone marrow had worked, this time doctors used stem cells from umbilical cord blood stored in cord blood banks. A big benefit of cord blood stem cells is they don't need to be as precisely matched as bone marrow.

The woman who received this treatment remains disease and medication free one year after surgery. Could this finally be the cure for all HIV patients? That's what scientists will try to answer.

For more information…

A Woman Is Cured of H.I.V. Using a Novel Treatment
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