Since that date, the disease has represented one of the most serious health problems facing humanity. As it led to the death of about 36.3 million people until November of last year (2021), while the number of people infected with the virus reached 37.7 million people at the end of 2020, according to estimates by the World Health Organization.
In light of the horror that still accompanies the spread of the disease, an American research team led by the American National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced the use of stem cells in the case of a “potential cure” for an American woman suffering from HIV-AIDS.
This announcement is a step on the way to treating this disease, especially as it opens the door to treating HIV-AIDS without using “bone marrow”, which is a very dangerous process. It is done by destroying a person’s bone marrow cells with radiation or chemotherapy, and then the cells that normally live in the bone marrow that are responsible for making blood cells and that are located in the center of spongy bone are replaced, as well as the difficulties encountered in the “bone transplant” process related to antigen matching. Human leukocytes (HLA) between the patient and the donor.
But press reports stressed – at the same time – the criticism of some experts for trying to treat AIDS patients by transplanting stem cells, considering it “an unethical act and a toxic and sometimes fatal procedure.”
According to press reports, these scientists have used an advanced method of stem cell transplantation that they expect will expand the group of people who can receive similar treatment to dozens of patients annually, after the woman who bore the nickname “New York patient” entered the list of possible cases of recovery from the disease.
And press reports quoted Carl Diefenbach – director of the AIDS department at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States of America, one of the institutes that funded the operation – as saying: It is important that success continues like this, if the accumulation of victories – even if small – in treatment HIV would provide hope.
The term “Diffenbach” refers to previous experiences such as the case of the American “Timothy Ray Brown”, who died in 2020, and was known as the “Berlin patient”, and was the first person to recover from AIDS in 2007 after he had a bone marrow transplant from a person. It has a natural resistance to AIDS.
And press reports explain that “the new case is different from its predecessors, as the researchers worked to mitigate the great challenge faced by researchers in finding a donor whose stem cells can treat the patient and treat HIV, traditionally, the donor must have blood cell antigens.” Human leukemia (HLA) matches the patient’s condition to allow for a good increase in the possibility of stem cell transplantation The donor must also have a rare genetic defect that gives him resistance to HIV This genetic abnormality occurs largely in people of European ancestry North with a rate of only about 1%, which means that in a country like the United States of America, the chance of finding a suitable donor for stem cells is low, as African Americans represent about 40%, and Hispanics about 25% of about 1.2 million people living with HIV While white people represent about 28%.
The researchers were also able to treat the “New York patient” in fewer steps; They extracted primary stem cells from the donor’s blood, then turned them into immune cells that can fight the virus.
“The role of the adult donor cells is to speed up the early vaccination process and make transplantation easier and safer, and for the New York patient, who is of mixed ethnic descent,” says Van Bessen, who participated in the process, the results of which were presented at the ART conference, held in Colorado, USA. , researchers found an HIV-resistant genetic defect in the umbilical cord blood of an infant donor, and paired the transplantation of these cells with a stem cell transplant from an adult donor, and both donors were partially identical to each other in terms of human leukocyte antigens, but the combination of the two transplants allowed So.
Pessin adds: We used umbilical cord blood rich in stem cells to treat the “New York patient”, who also suffers from leukemia, to treat her cancer, and those cells came from a donor that partially genetically matches with that woman. Relatives to give their immune system a temporary immune boost during a stem cell transplant.
He continues: There are about 50 patients in the United States who can benefit from this procedure annually, the ability to use partially matched umbilical cord blood greatly increases the likelihood of finding suitable donors for such patients, and cord blood banks are a much easier way to process Screening large numbers for HIV-resistance anomalies Compared to the bone marrow records that scientists used to rely on for access to stem cell donors, this has allowed us to screen already thousands of samples of cord blood for genetic abnormalities.
- 28.2 million people were receiving antiretroviral therapy as of June 30, 2021.
- 37.7 million people globally are living with HIV in 2020.
- 1.5 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2020.
- 680,000 people died of virus-related causes in 2020.
- 79.3 million have been infected with HIV since the beginning of the epidemic.
- 53% of all people infected with HIV were women and girls.
- Approximately 6.1 million people do not know they have HIV.
- 52% decrease in new HIV infections since its peak in 1997.
- 53% decrease in new HIV infections among children; The number fell from 320,000 cases in 2010 to 150,000 cases in 2020.
Source : Here