Stem Cells are the way forward for medicine and this is another confirmation of that. Just ahead of the upcoming World AIDS day, comes a wonderful piece of news – stem cells can be used to cure AIDS. This has been demonstrated the case of mice.
There are specific cells in the body’s defense system which can recognize HIV cells and kill HIV-infected cells, called cytotoxic T-lymphocytes. However, because HIV prevents the immune system from proliferating the WBC’s (white blood corpuscles- the soldier cells) during an infection, the T-cells aren’t produced in sufficient quantities. Now, scientists are using blood stem cells and ‘programming’ them to form mature T-corpuscles in sufficient number to attack the infection properly.
The tests were done in a lab in California University and the experiment subject was a humanized mouse. By humanized, it simply means that the progress of the HIV infection in the mouse mimics the progress in humans.
The experimental subjects were observed for progress. Blood tests were done on the second week and sixth week. The scientists found that the T-cell count had increased and the HIV level decreased! Is this the long sought after cure?
Dr. Scott G Kitchen, lead scientist in this study, said:
We believe that this is the first step in developing a more aggressive approach in correcting the defects in the human T cell response that allow HIV to persist in infected people.
There are a lot more drug trials that need to be conducted before this can be thought of as a cure. Further, these have to be tested on human patients and their efficacy measured. The first step is a very promising one. It’s too early to say, but this can be the cure against AIDS.