Study reveals cell factors that could help eradicate HIV

The research was co-led by the Barcelona and Madrid institutes and hospitals

A laboratory at the IrsiCaixa on February 16 2017 (IrsiCaixa / Jordi Anguera)
A laboratory at the IrsiCaixa on February 16 2017 (IrsiCaixa / Jordi Anguera) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 16, 2018 03:51 PM

Pharmaceuticals haven’t yet been effective in curing HIV infections due to a viral reservoir. This, in turn, is formed by infected cells that remain in a latent state (similar to dormant, or inactive), and which consequently cannot be detected nor attacked by the immune system.

But now, a new study published in the ‘Annals of Internal Medicine’ academic medical journal has revealed some factors associated with the transplanting of stem cells that could contribute to the elimination of this reservoir from the body.

The research shows that five HIV-positive subjects who received stem cell transplants had the virus undetectable in their blood. In one of them, researchers didn’t even detect antibodies in their blood, which could suggest that it may have been eradicated from their body.

These results could help lead to strategies to cure HIV in a less invasive way, as currently stem cell transplant is only recommended for serious hematologic disorders. The study was co-led by researchers at the Institut de Recerca de la Sida IrsiCaixa (Barcelona), with the help of the Obra Social ‘la Caixa’ and the health department, as well as the Gregorio Marañón General University Hospital (Madrid). Published by the American College of Physicians, one of the most foremost journals in its field worldwide.