Results of a preliminary trial have raised hopes of a new form of therapy for people suffering from Aids, which occurs in the latter stages of infection with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The scientists are planning further research to establish whether the treatment could even rid patients of HIV infection altogether.
The technique involves isolating genes which curb the spread of HIV inside the body, introducing the genes into human stem cells in a laboratory, then transplanting the stem cells into a patient’s bone marrow.
In the first human trial, anti-HIV stem cells were transplanted into five Aids patients undergoing bone marrow replacement as part of treatment for a form of cancer known as lymphoma.
Small quantities of the transplanted stem cells were able to grow and produce new white blood cells resistant to HIV, resulting in an improvement in the patients’ conditions.
Findings from the trial will be presented this week at the Stem Cell World Congress in Palm Springs, California. It could take up to ten years before an effective clinical treatment could be put into widespread use…
They are due to begin a larger trial where patients will be given greater concentrations of the anti-HIV stem cells in a bid to fight off their condition.