After a stem cell transplant, a woman in the United States becomes the first woman to be HIV-free.

Researchers stated on Tuesday, February 15, that a leukemia patient in the United States has become the first woman and the third person in the world to be cured of HIV after getting a stem cell transplant from a donor who was naturally resistant to the AIDS-causing virus.

The example of a 64-year-old mixed-race lady, presented in Denver at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, is also the first to use umbilical cord blood, a newer strategy that could make the treatment more accessible to more individuals.

The woman has been in remission and free of the virus for 14 months since receiving cord blood to treat her acute myeloid leukemia, a malignancy that develops in blood-forming cells in the bone marrow.

Males, one white and one Latino, got adult stem cells, which are more commonly used in bone marrow transplants, in the two previous cases.

In a statement, Sharon Lewin, President-Elect of the International AIDS Society, said, “This is now the third report of a cure in this environment, and the first in a woman living with HIV.”

Dr. Yvonne Bryson of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Dr. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore are leading a larger US-funded investigation.

In 2013, the woman in question was afflicted with HIV, then in 2017, she was diagnosed with leukemia, making her a possible candidate.

She had the treatment four years ago, and her cancer has returned since then.

Her body responded well to the treatment, according to the experts, and she observed positive effects soon.

Despite the fact that she stopped taking HIV medication over a year ago, the virus has not returned in her body. Her body has been scanned several times and no HIV cells with the ability to replicate have been found. They also took cells from her body and tried, but failed, to infect them in a lab.

If physicians are unable to identify any HIV in her body or infect her cells after a few more years, they will declare her ‘cured’ of the infection.

Dr. Yvonne Bryson told NBC, “I’m excited that it’s turned out so beautifully for her.”

She went on to say that the New York patient’s case has given her “greater hope and more possibilities for the future.”

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