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HIV Cure Trial Using Umbilical Cord Stem Cells Begins in Spain

HIV Cure Trial Using Umbilical Cord Stem Cells Begins in Spain


Study hopes to recreate Berlin Patient HIV cure.

A new clinical study in search of a method to cure HIV was annouced by the National Organization of Transplants (ONT) in Valencia, Spain, according to Tech Times

The trial seeks to recreate the success of Berlin patient, Timothy Brown who is now HIV-positive after he underwent a bone marrow transplant to treat leukemia. 

Brown was diagnosed with HIV in 1995. In 2007, Brown was treated for leukemia via a hematopoietic stem cell transplant using stem cells taken from bone marrow. Doctors used matching donors with a genetic mutation that causes resistence to HIV called CCR5 delta 35. About 10 percent of the European population has this mutation, but it is rarer in other populations.

After the transplant, Brown had only trace levels of HIV in his system but they no longer replicated and no longer needed antiretroviral treatment, effectively making him the first person ever to be cured of HIV. 

Similar transplants were performed on two other patients however the donors used in those cases did not have the CCR5 delta 35 mutation and the transplants did not effect HIV in those patients.  

This trial however will use stem cells from umbilical cords from 157 donors with the CCR5 delta 35 mutation. An HIV-positive Barcelona man was previously given a blood transplant from umbilical cords, however he died from lymphoma before researchers could assess whether the transplant had an effect or not. 

The trial, which will begin between December and January in Madrid, will last about three years. Researchers hope that the trial will increase knowledge about HIV and perhaps find a cure for the disease. 




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