Scientists announced on Tuesday in the UK the cure of a second person infected with the AIDS virus by transplanting stem cells from a donor with an HIV-resistant gene.
The case, reported in the medical journal The Lancet HIV, reports to a patient in London, UK, who was treated similarly to the so-called “Berlin patient”, presented in 2011, in Germany, as the first infected with cured HIV after receiving this therapy for three and a half years.
We suggest that these results represent the second case of a person with HIV to be cured. The results show that the success of stem cell transplantation as a cure for HIV, first reported nine years ago in the 'Berlin patient', can be replicated, ”he said, quoted in a statement by The Lancet, the coordinator of the experimental study. , Ravindra Kumar Gupta, University of Cambridge.
According to the study, the “London patient”, a man, stopped having an active viral infection after two and a half years without antiretroviral drugs. The scientists checked it on samples of blood, cerebrospinal fluid, semen, intestinal tissue and lymphoid.
In addition, they started with a probabilistic model to calculate the percentage of cure, which would be 99% if the patient had 90% of immune cells derived from the cells that were transplanted.
In the case of the “London patient”, the researchers concluded that 99% of his immune cells were derived from the stem cells he received from the donor, which means that the stem cell transplant was successful. Despite the results, the man will continue to be monitored, albeit less frequently. Remission of HIV infection was reported in 2019.
The research authors point out that treatment with stem cells – cells that differentiate into others and have regenerative capacity – is at high risk and can only be used as a last resort for patients with the AIDS virus who have blood cancer.
Therefore, it is not a treatment that can be widely given to HIV-infected people who are responding successfully to antiretroviral treatment, ”said Ravindra Kumar Gupta.
The transplantation of donor stem cells with the HIV-resistant gene (CCR5) prevents the virus from multiplying in the infected person's body by replacing their immune cells with donor immune cells. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy are used in parallel to eliminate traces of the virus.
Compared to the “Berlin patient”, the “London patient” received a less aggressive treatment, which consisted of a single stem cell transplant and lower doses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The “Berlin patient” underwent two transplants, radiation therapy throughout his body and a more intensive chemotherapy regimen.
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