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Scientists Have Possibly Cured HIV In A Woman For First Time

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Scientists Have Possibly Cured HIV In A Woman For First Time

Recommended for only patients who are likely to die without major medical intervention.

A woman, dubbed “New York Patient,” has been cured of HIV. She’s the 4th person ever to be cured as the previous have all been men. The woman, also a cancer patient, reportedly received a treatment meant to combat both diseases at once – although it’s so risky, it has been deemed unethical to use on people who do not have a late-stage cancer diagnosis. 

The woman in question had been diagnosed with HIV in 2013 and leukemia in 2017, making her a good candidate. 

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National Cancer Institute [not the actual image]

She received the treatment four years ago, and in the time since her cancer has gone into remission, her HIV treatment was discontinued last winter. According to the doctor’s report, her body reacted well to the treatment and quickly saw positive results. The virus hasn’t resurged.

Repeated scans of her body show no HIV cells with the potential of replicating. Doctors have also drawn cells from her body and attempted to infect them in a laboratory, but it failed. 

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via Getty Images

“I’m excited that it’s turned out so well for her,” Dr. Yvonne Bryson told NBC, adding that the New York patients’ case has brought forth more hope and more options for the future of HIV treatments. To perform the stem cell treatment, doctors at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center In NYC first found a donor with a rare mutation that makes them resistant to the virus. They then performed a ‘haploidentical cord transplantation,’ which uses the donor’s umbilical cord blood and bone marrow. 

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via Getty Images

The cord blood helps fight blood-based cancer, while the bone marrow provides stem cells to the body. Since cord blood is usually not as effective for adults as in children, stem cell transplantation help boosts its effectiveness. “The role of the adult donor cells is to hasten the early engraftment process and render the transplant easier and safer,” Dr. Keon Van Besien, one of the lead doctors evaluating the patient, told NBC. 

The stem cell treatment can often result in death for the patient; therefore, experts [pictured] revealed it couldn’t be used on a healthy person who can manage their HIV through normal methods. 

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From left, Dr. Koen van Besien, Dr. Jingmei Hsu and Dr. Marshall Glesby via Benjamin Ryan

While experts have since found two cases of women somehow beating the virus naturally, they focus the stem cell treatment on people in the latter stages of a cancer diagnosis who are likely to die anyway unless a major medical intervention is made. However, scientists have claimed up to 50 patients could receive the procedure yearly, out of the over one million Americans battling HIV. 

Source: Dailymail

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