HIV has the highest death toll of any infectious disease, leading to more than 40 million deaths worldwide since the 1980s. Until now, there has been no way of fighting the virus — drugs can suppress its effects, but it remains in the body for life.
Now, scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have discovered a potential stem cell treatment for HIV by using stem cells to attack the virus and eliminate it from the system. They inserted an “engineered molecule” called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) into blood-forming stem cells, which can create the T cells that fight bacterial and viral infections. Usually, T cells are virtually powerless against HIV, but with the addition of the CAR, they became able to seek out and kill cells infected with the virus.
When the researchers tested this process in mice, their HIV levels were decreased by 80 to 95 percent as the engineered stem cells became T cells with the power to seek and destroy infected cells.
According to UCLA’s press release, “The findings strongly suggest that stem cell-based gene therapy with a CAR may be a feasible and effective treatment for chronic HIV infection in humans.”
“Despite increased scientific understanding of HIV and better prevention and treatment with available drugs, a majority of the 35 million people living with HIV, and millions more at risk of infection, do not have adequate access to prevention and treatment, and there is still no practical cure. With the CAR approach, we aim to change that,” wrote study author Jerome Zack, a professor of medicine, microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.
For more information about how stem cell treatment can help with various medical problems, contact the Longevity Centres of America today.