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Bone Marrow Transplant May Cure HIV

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:43 pm    Post subject: Bone Marrow Transplant May Cure HIV Reply with quote

What the fuck?

Breakthrough In Medicine: Bone Marrow Transplant May Cure HIV

A German doctor says one of his patients, who suffered from leukaemia and was infected with the immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS, appears to have been cured of AIDS by a bone marrow transplant from a donor who had a genetic mutation known to help the body resists AIDS infection.

Dr. Gero Hutter and Thomas Schneider of the Clinic for Gastroenterology, Infections and Rheumatology of the Berlin Charite hospital said the man, a 42-year-old American living in Berlin, has shown no sign of either disease since the transplant which was performed two years ago.

The German team selected a bone marrow donor who had a genetic resistance to most strains of HIV – the mutations affects a receptor, CCR5, that the AIDS virus uses to get into the cells it infects – in the hope that the procedure would result in more HIV-resistant cells in their patient. He underwent the transplant and since then, he has taken no anti-retroviral drugs.

The German doctor targeted the “Achilles” heel of HIV, which acts like a doorway that the AIDS virus uses to get into the body.

“More than 20 months after the successful transplant, no HIV can be detected in the patient,” Berlin’s Charite hospital said in a statement.

“We performed all tests, not only with blood but also with other reservoirs,”
Dr. Thomas Schneider of the Clinic for Gastroenterology, Infections and Rheumatology of the Berlin Charite hospital told a news conference.

Bone marrow is the flexible tissue found in the hollow interior of bones. Bone marrow contains three types of stem cells: hematopoietic stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells, and endothelial stem cells. Bone marrow stem cell transplants are dangerous, as they require the patient to have his own bone barrow completely destroyed using drugs or radiation.

This procedure puts a patient at high risk of infections, sepsis, and septic shock because they may go for several weeks without an important number of white blood cells. Practically, patients risk death because they have no immune system until the stem cells grow and replace the missing ones. Transplantation from one person to another is performed in severe cases of disease of the bone marrow.
The first physician to perform a successful human bone marrow transplant was Robert A. Good. Many receipients of stem cell transplantation are leukaemia patients or those who suffer from severe forms of cancers who would not benefit from prolonged treatment with chemotherapy.

Two million people die of AIDS each year. About 33 million people worldwide are infected with the virus and 2.7 million new cases were reported in 2007, according to UNAIDS. Over three quarters of these deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, which remains the epicenter of the global malady. Researchers believe the virus originated in this region during the twentieth century. There is currently no vaccine or cure for HIV, but the search for a more effective antiretroviral therapy that could prolong people’s lives many years continues.

Bone marrow transplant could one day, however, help boost the immune system of those already infected, helping them destroy the virus and extending their lifetime.

We'll just give 33 million people bone marrow transplants...
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a link to an article covering the same story bri, just in case anyone might think that is a satirical bit:


WTF indeed. Pretty sick stuff. Gonna make somebody rich though. The perfect procedure for the wealthy, inbred, masochistic hemophiliac.

Kind of a microcosm for AIDS treatment in general though, expensive, torturous treatment resulting in severe immune system compromise, and of course if anything goes wrong there is a convenient scapegoat.

Breaking news today: Math might have found the cure for the AIDS epidemic!

Math model: HIV can be eliminated in a decade
Number crunch shows regular testing, quick treatment may be the answer

LONDON - The virus that causes AIDS could theoretically be eliminated in a decade if all people living in countries with high infection rates are regularly tested and treated, according to a new mathematical model.

It is an intriguing solution to end the AIDS epidemic. But it is based on assumptions rather than data, and is riddled with logistical problems. The research was published online Tuesday in the medical journal The Lancet.

"It's quite a startling result," said Charlie Gilks, an AIDS treatment expert at the World Health Organization and one of the paper's authors. "In a relatively short amount of time, we could potentially knock the epidemic on its head."

Gilks and colleagues used data from South Africa and Malawi. In their model, people were voluntarily tested each year and immediately given drugs if they tested positive for HIV, regardless of whether they were sick.

Within 10 years, HIV infections dropped by 95 percent. Other initiatives like safe sex education and male circumcision were also used.

The strategy would cut the estimated number of AIDS deaths between 2008 and 2050 by about half, from about 8.7 million to 3.9 million, leaving only sporadic HIV cases.

Experts think the strategy's cost would peak at about $3.4 billion a year, though expenses would fall after an initial investment.

"This is certainly beyond the bounds of the current infrastructure for many countries, but that is not a reason not to think big," said Myron Cohen, of the University of North Carolina, who has done similar research. He was not involved in the WHO study.

‘A huge leap’
Only 3 million people are currently on AIDS drugs. Nearly 7 million people are still awaiting treatment, and about 3 million more people were infected last year. Worldwide, WHO guesses that about 33 million people have HIV.

Increasing access to testing and drugs would stretch already weak health systems in Africa, which has most of the world's HIV cases.

"This is not like giving someone a Tylenol," said Jennifer Kates, director of HIV policy for the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, DC. Once people start AIDS drugs, they must continue indefinitely. "The idea should be explored, but it's a huge leap," Kates said.

Handing out AIDS drugs to everyone who tests positive could also worsen drug resistance.

In addition, doctors don't know if it's safe to take AIDS drugs for decades; the oldest drug combinations have only been around for about a dozen years.

Other experts questioned whether the strategy might infringe on patient's rights. Once people test positive for HIV, they would be advised to start treatment, even if they weren't sick.

That would benefit the community, but not necessarily the patients themselves. AIDS drugs come with side effects including vomiting, liver failure, and heart attacks.

WHO emphasized that the study findings do not signal a policy change. "This is only a theoretical exercise," said Dr. Kevin De Cock, director of WHO's HIV/AIDS department. He said WHO would hold a meeting next year to study the idea more closely.


I don't know, despite all the torturously complicated math involved (more money, more drugs, more tests- brilliant stuff boys!) it still seems like WHO AIDS policy would operate under the same basic premise:

"Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is"- Albert Camus
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