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Revolutionary Breakthrough – Stem Cells Can Restore Immune System
- Stem cells show great potential for many diseases and medical conditions.
- Stem cell treatments can restore the immune system.
- A revolutionary breakthrough in stem cell treatments can mean a cure for HIV and AIDS.
With all of the talk in the news about stem cell research, and the potential that these cells have for many diseases and conditions, can they be beneficial to your immune system? Will there ever be a time when stem cell therapy can treat immune system disorders and diseases like HIV and AIDS, which there is no cure for currently? Stem cell research has shown very promising results, and recently several research breakthroughs have occurred which show stem cells can be a treatment option to restore a healthy immune system in patients with immune disorders. Scientific trials at Stanford University School of Medicine with mice have shown that the implantation of only a small number of purified stem cells in a mouse with artificially created immune deficiencies will restore the immune system of the mouse completely. The stem cells must be hematopoietic, because these are the stem cells which will replace the white blood cells which make up a good part of your immune system, as well as replacing the red blood cells as well. This replacement happens on a continuous basis, and these stem cells can help create new white blood cells which are responsible for trapping pathogens and invaders before they can make you sick.
The revolutionary breakthrough which shows the promise stem cells can offer to restore a healthy immune system came about completely by accident, and the stem cell treatment was used to treat a certain type of cancer initially. Without a cure and treatment, patients with HIV and AIDS may end up taking daily maintenance drugs which are expensive and have serious side effects. Stem cell treatments have been tried before, to provide new immune system cells which are healthy to boost the immune system. The patient must still take the daily maintenance medications afterwards to ensure the new cells do not get infected. In addition there is concern about rejection, as Dr. Joseph Wu, MD, PHD, who is the assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine, as well as the assistant professor radiology at Stanford University School of Medicine, points out. In an astonishing medical first, a patient who had HIV for more than a decade received stem cell treatments because of an acute myeloid leukemia relapse. The HIV factor of the patient, in addition to the cancer of the white blood cells, caused the research team to look for a donor of the stem cells that had a unique trait. This was that the cells of the donor did not have the specific receptor used by the HIV virus to enter and infect the immune system cell. Anyone who does not have this specific receptor on their cells will be resistant to the virus itself.
Up until this patient received the stem cell treatment at the Medical University of Berlin, he was taking three different drugs daily to control his HIV level, which was still significant. The day the stem cell treatment was given the patient did not take any of the maintenance drugs, and has not taken them since. The revolutionary breakthrough occurred because not only is maintenance medication not needed, but the HIV levels in his blood started dropping immediately. After two months, the researchers could find no sign of HIV infection using the normal and standard tests for the virus. The potential that this stem cell treatment has for patients who suffer from HIV and AIDS is enormous. It has been around one year since the stem cell treatment was given, and there is still no trace of HIV that has been detected in the patient. The stem cell treatment restored the immune system of the patient, and stopped the virus from replicating in his body. This breakthrough may be exactly what is needed to make a widespread cure for HIV/AIDS available. This gives hope to anyone infected with this deadly virus, and there may come a time in the near future when restoring immune systems is commonly a treatment for anyone infected.Click here to discuss this article on forum
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Immune System Health3 Aug 2009|