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#1 User is offline   LoD 

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 12:07 PM

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BERLIN — An American man who suffered from AIDS appears to have been cured of the disease 20 months after receiving a targeted bone marrow transplant normally used to fight leukemia, his doctors said Wednesday.

While researchers — and the doctors themselves — caution that the case might be no more than a fluke, others say it may inspire a greater interest in gene therapy to fight the disease that claims 2 million lives each year. The virus has infected 33 million people worldwide.

Dr. Gero Huetter said his 42-year-old patient, an American living in Berlin who was not identified, had been infected with the AIDS virus for more than a decade. But 20 months after undergoing a transplant of genetically selected bone marrow, he no longer shows signs of carrying the virus.

“We waited every day for a bad reading,” Huetter said.

It has not come. Researchers at Berlin’s Charite hospital and medical school say tests on his bone marrow, blood and other organ tissues have all been clean.

However, Dr. Andrew Badley, director of the HIV and immunology research lab at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said those tests have probably not been extensive enough.

“A lot more scrutiny from a lot of different biological samples would be required to say it’s not present,” Badley said.

Apparent eradication
This isn’t the first time marrow transplants have been attempted for treating AIDS or HIV infection. In 1999, an article in the journal Medical Hypotheses reviewed the results of 32 attempts reported between 1982 and 1996. In two cases, HIV was apparently eradicated, the review reported.

Huetter’s patient was under treatment at Charite for both AIDS and leukemia, which developed unrelated to HIV.

Facts about HIV/AIDS

As Huetter — who is a hematologist, not an HIV specialist — prepared to treat the patient’s leukemia with a bone marrow transplant, he recalled that some people carry a genetic mutation that seems to make them resistant to HIV infection. If the mutation, called Delta 32, is inherited from both parents, it prevents HIV from attaching itself to cells by blocking CCR5, a receptor that acts as a kind of gateway.

“I read it in 1996, coincidentally,” Huetter told reporters at the medical school. “I remembered it and thought it might work.”

Roughly one in 1,000 Europeans and Americans have inherited the mutation from both parents, and Huetter set out to find one such person among donors that matched the patient’s marrow type. Out of a pool of 80 suitable donors, the 61st person tested carried the proper mutation.

Sometimes fatal treatment
Before the transplant, the patient endured powerful drugs and radiation to kill off his own infected bone marrow cells and disable his immune system — a treatment fatal to between 20 and 30 percent of recipients.

He was also taken off the potent drugs used to treat his AIDS. Huetter’s team feared that the drugs might interfere with the new marrow cells’ survival. They risked lowering his defenses in the hopes that the new, mutated cells would reject the virus on their own.

The AIDS epidemic

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases in the U.S., said the procedure was too costly and too dangerous to employ as a firstline cure. But he said it could inspire researchers to pursue gene therapy as a means to block or suppress HIV.

“It helps prove the concept that if somehow you can block the expression of CCR5, maybe by gene therapy, you might be able to inhibit the ability of the virus to replicate,” Fauci said.

David Roth, a professor of epidemiology and international public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said gene therapy as cheap and effective as current drug treatments is in very early stages of development.

“That’s a long way down the line because there may be other negative things that go with that mutation that we don’t know about.”

Even for the patient in Berlin, the lack of a clear understanding of exactly why his AIDS has disappeared means his future is far from certain.

“The virus is wily,” Huetter said. “There could always be a resurgence.”


This cracks a door open to finding a permanent cure. Though I can't help but think.... I Am Legend - Movie becomes reality? DUN DUN DUUUUN!

But no serious. Awesome news.

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#2 User is offline   Benaiah 

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 12:11 PM

Bone marrow can be a source of stem cells. perhaps that assisted? although i dont see how stem cells would fight a virus.

The other thing would be the white blood cells from the new marrow. maybe because they werent already "vaccinated" buy the virus' presence, they could kill it? As well as the fact that AIDS kills your immune system, which white blood cells (among other cells produced in bone marrow) play a huge part of.

interesting either way.
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#3 User is offline   Pirate 

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 12:39 PM

I guess...Posted Image
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This post has been edited by Pirate: 17 December 2010 - 12:40 PM

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 02:16 PM

Well, I guess that is great news, at least for people in areas where they can receive this treatment. The bigger issue though, is finding a treatment that can help save the people that are being killed in places like Africa where it is dominate. Even if the money was available for them to get treatment, most towns aren't going to have the facilities. I guess this is progress in the right direction though
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#5 User is offline   Benaiah 

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 03:18 PM

lol the "new threads" column thinks that LoD cured the guys AIDS
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#6 User is offline   cdrinkh20 

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 05:11 PM

I didn't post it cause it's not really much of a "cure" per say...

Essentially, HIV/AIDS infects the white blood cells produced by bone marrow...for simplicity's sake, imagine that there are 3 main types of HIV. One can attach to A receptors, one can attach to B receptors, and one can attach to both.

This man had the one that could attach to "B" receptors....the bone marrow donor they found had a rare mutation which basically made it (near) impossible for "B" type HIV to attach to his cells. So, the chemotherapy for his cancer killed off all of his own white blood cells, and they replaced them with someone else's.

If I'm not mistaken, he will probably require some intense immunosuppressants to prevent his new white blood cells from attacking his entire body...for the rest of his life.

Yes, if they found a way to use gene therapy so nobody had these attachment points for HIV, then they could "cure" it... of course, I don't know enough to say if the cells function at full capacity while missing these receptors.
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#7 User is offline   Invictusone 

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 06:12 PM

View PostLoD, on 17 December 2010 - 02:07 PM, said:

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This cracks a door open to finding a permanent cure. Though I can't help but think.... I Am Legend - Movie becomes reality? DUN DUN DUUUUN!

But no serious. Awesome news.


Not really. It might be a step, but until we can find a way to give every body 'killer t-cells,' aids will not be cured. A killer T cell is a T cell that can handle the Virus, and prevents the immune system from degrading.

Many marrow transplants have occurred for aids patients before and after this one. This is an isolated case, and Aids is still a menace that we have no viable solution for.

Edit: It is awesome news for that guy, but its overall impact for the human race is probably not going to be too large unless they can figure out what happened, which is unlikely.

This post has been edited by Invictusone: 17 December 2010 - 06:13 PM

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#8 User is offline   cdrinkh20 

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 07:08 PM

See post above for explanation of what I read happened (or they think happened). :P
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#9 User is offline   Private Silver 

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 10:32 PM

Actually if they found the exact right type of marrow donor, he may not need the immunodepressants, or at least not Extremely strong ones, as his body may believe they are his own cells. This would be rare, but hey, apparently he's been cured of AIDS, he might as well go for it all B)

On a side note, unless they also allow genetic engineering, I don't see there ever being enough viable sources of Mutated marrow to give to others anyway. Figure I think 1 fully grown adult can give maybe 2 or 3 donations within a short period of time as marrow is one of those tricky buggers with it's growing habits. Figure that means for 33 Million people to be "cured" this way, they would need almost 20 Million people with perfect matches. I don't see it happening. That and the fact if it got to that point, it would become more of a sale than anything, with those that had the wanted marrow selling it off to the highest payer. Much more should be examined in the area of genetic engineering and gene therapy IMO. Seems like a bunch could be gained from it.
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#10 User is offline   Invictusone 

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 07:23 AM

View Postcdrinkh20, on 17 December 2010 - 09:08 PM, said:

See post above for explanation of what I read happened (or they think happened). :P


Yeah, you did. oops. I meant to say that until they find a way to use this technology to help other people. By 'what happened' i meant from the ability to recreate what happened, and since other transplants have occurred, they obviously have not done so.

But if they used Gene therapy to remove the attachment points, it would also greatly hinder our immune system, because those attachment points are what allow the cells to perform their function, such as alert the various other cells to do something. T (cd4+) cells serve as the activators of the immune system, and when they are unable to perform their function, the body has no signal to fight an infection.

Edit/addendum: However, the immune system being weakened would not be as significant as AIDS. Therefore, they could use pluripotent stem cells, use signals to convert it to marrow and then prevent the development genes for the certain receptors from working, and then they could put the cells back in the marrow. He also would not have to worry about rejection, as they are his cells anyway, just used in a different way.

This post has been edited by Invictusone: 18 December 2010 - 07:39 AM

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#11 User is offline   commander bond 

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 10:08 AM

NICE:


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#12 User is offline   Gauss 

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 07:44 PM

Just another $8 billion for the next 10 years and we can get a definate cure!
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