A patient with leukemia in the United States has become the first woman and the third person to be cured of HIV infection after receiving a stem cell transplant from a donor who was naturally resistant to the virus that causes AIDS, reported researchers on Tuesday.
The case of a middle-aged woman of mixed race, presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Denver, is also the first involving umbilical cord blood, a newer approach that may make the treatment available to more people.
Since receiving the cord blood to treat her acute myeloid leukemia－a cancer that starts in blood-forming cells in the bone marrow, the woman has been in remission and free of the virus for 14 months, without the need for potent HIV treatments known as antiretroviral therapy.
Scientist said bone marrow transplants are not a viable strategy to cure most people living with HIV. But the report "confirms that a cure for HIV is possible and further strengthens using gene therapy as a viable strategy for an HIV cure," said Sharon Lewin, president-elect of the International AIDS Society, in a statement.