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Stem cell research offers hope for those with ‘untreatable’ STDs

Stem cell research has advanced significant research which could offer hope to people suffering from previously incurable sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes.

The UK’s Stem Cell bank, has analysed the latest in clinical trials of stem cell treatments and seen real positive steps towards helping those with difficult to treat STDs.

Some sexually transmitted diseases, like herpes, have no cure. While treatment is available to sufferers to alleviate the symptoms of the disease, it is often a cause of distress and shame to those who live with a long-term, incurable disease. Herpes is the third most common STD and 10% of the population are thought to carry HSV type 2, the form of the virus which can cause sores on the genitals[1] – although there are more dangerous long-term risks associated with the virus, such as encephalitis and pregnancy complications.

However, has noted that in recent years, scientists have turned to more radical techniques to help tackle such diseases, with early attempts to use stem cell technology to treat STDs. Studies into the efficacy of gene editing, which works alongside stem cell research, has been shown promising results in tackling a variety of sexually transmitted diseases, from chlamydia to HIV.

While stem cell researchers have been looking closely at therapies to treat HIV since the 1980s, research has recently begun to make leaps and bounds in this area. In recent years, two men being treated for cancer at a hospital in Boston were found to have no traces of HIV in their bodies following stem cell therapy[2] – opening the door to further research and ultimately, clinical trials.

While a quick fix for these life-changing diseases isn’t yet available, it remains hugely encouraging that STDs are amongst the illnesses which respond to stem cell therapy, giving a beacon of hope for those who are looking for cures. However, stem cell therapy relies heavily on the ability to safely store and retrieve stem cells – which is where’s expertise is invaluable.

Mark Hall, spokesperson for, commented:

“It really is incredible to see the breadth of research focusing on using stem cells for life-changing treatments, and it is heartening to see that there is hope for those with previously incurable sexually transmitted diseases.

“Of course, we also advocate for better sex education, both at schools and in the wider public, to help curb the spread of STDs. There are a generation of people who remember the fear surrounding the AIDS epidemic in the Eighties and had these messages drilled into them, but there are plenty of younger people who don’t have the same cultural reference point. We need to ensure that – while stem cell research is promising and an exciting leap for medicine – young people are given the education to make informed decisions about safer sex.”