Women in STEM behind stem cell HIV 'cure'

Women in STEM behind stem cell HIV 'cure'

The clinical trial that led to the reported cure of the third HIV patient was announced days after the world celebrated the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The novel gene therapy treatment using stem cells from umbilical cord blood with an HIV-resistance variant places sciences in spotlight this month. And women feature strongly in this discovery.


Dr Yvonne Bryson

Dr Yvonne Bryson is one of two female researchers who led the observational study conducted by the International Maternal Paediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trial Network (IMPAACT) P1107.

Dr Bryson is a Professor of Paediatrics and Chief of Paediatric Infectious Diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Mattel Children Hospital UCLA. She is a world-renown leader, researcher, virologist and clinician in the field of HIV pathogenesis, prevention and treatment of maternal-foetal and paediatric HIV-1. She is currently the Chair of the NIH Network IMPAACT (International Maternal Paediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials) PMTCT Committee (Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV).  


Dr Deborah Persaud  

Dr Persaud is a professor of paediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is a clinician and researcher specialising in the study and treatment of HIV-1 infection in children. Graduated from York College with BS in chemistry. 

She is also a researcher who led the IMPAACT observational study. The study began in 2015 and was designed to describe the outcomes of up to 25 participants living with HIV who underwent a transplant with CCR5Δ32/Δ32 cord blood stem cells for treatment of cancer, hematopoietic disease, or other underlying disease.

Both Dr Bryson and Dr Persaud have partnered with a network of other researchers to conduct lab tests to evaluate the woman.


Dr Jingmei Hsu

A specialist in Hematology/Oncology who with her fellow infectious disease specialist colleagues Dr. Koen Van Besien and Dr. Marshall Glesby were the physician-scientists responsible for treating the patient in New York.

The trial was held at Weill Cornell Medicine in collaboration with investigators at University of California Los Angeles, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and several other institutions.