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Author Topic: Researchers report possible HIV infection cure; others cite dangers  (Read 1001 times)

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Offline D.H.W

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Researchers report possible HIV infection cure; others cite dangers

(CNN) -- Researchers in Germany are reporting that they may have cured a man of HIV infection. If true, that would represent a scientific advance, but not necessarily a treatment advance, said researchers familiar with the work.

In the study, published last week online in the journal Blood, researchers at Charite-University Medicine Berlin treated an HIV-infected man who also had acute myeloid leukemia -- a cancer of the immune system -- by wiping out his own immune system with high-dose chemotherapy and radiation and giving him a stem-cell transplant. Stem cells are immature cells that can mature into blood cells.

At the time of the transplant, which occurred in February 2007, he stopped taking anti-HIV medications.

Thirteen months later, after a relapse of the leukemia, he underwent a second round of treatment followed by another stem-cell transplant from the same donor.

The donor's stem cells contained a rare, inherited gene mutation that made them naturally resistant to infection with HIV, according to the authors, led by Kristina Allers, who hypothesized that HIV would nevertheless rebound over time. But that has not happened.

After three-and-a-half years off of anti-HIV drugs, the patient shows no sign of either leukemia or HIV replication and his immune system has been restored to normal health, the researchers reported, concluding, "our results strongly suggest that cure of HIV has been achieved in this patient."

But AIDS researchers predicted the report will have little impact on practice.

"This probably is a cure, but it comes at a bit of a price," said Dr. Michael Saag, professor of medicine and director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham AIDS Center.

"For him to receive the donor cells, his body had to have all of his immune system wiped out" and then receive a bone-marrow transplant, Saag noted. "The Catch-22 here is that the best candidates for a cure, ideally, are people who are healthy" and don't have leukemia.

The treatment associated with wiping out the immune system "is very hazardous," he told CNN in a telephone interview.

"Even if somebody doesn't die from a transplant, there are complications that make it very unpleasant for people to live with," he said, citing graft-versus-host disease, where the infused donor cells attack the body. In a number of cases, the transplant proves fatal.

The study is a proof of the concept "that our understanding of HIV biology is correct, and that if you eliminate -- not just in theory but in practice -- all of the cells in the body that are producing HIV and replace them with uninfected cells, you have a cure," Saag said.

But remaining infected with HIV is not always associated with the same grim outcome that was the norm prior to the mid-1990s, when more effective anti-HIV drugs were developed, he said.

"We can keep people alive for a normal life span," he said. "That means a 25-year-old diagnosed today with HIV has a reasonably good chance of living to 80, 85, 90."

Further limiting the treatment's potential appeal is the fact that it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for each patient who gets it, he said.

"It's not going to be applicable unless they develop leukemia or lymphoma and need a bone-marrow transplant,"Saag said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called it impractical. "It's hard enough to get a good compatible match for a transplant like this," he said in a statement. "But you also have to find (a) compatible donor that has this genetic defect, and this defect is only found in one percent of the Caucasian population and zero percent of the black population. This is very rare."

But HIV itself is not. According to the World Health Organization, 33.4 million people worldwide have the virus that causes AIDS.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/12/14/hiv.infection.cure/index.html
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Offline Blue

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Re: Researchers report possible HIV infection cure; others cite dangers
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2010, 12:24:22 AM »
Sounds expensive, so probably not much use to the third world. And in terms of the developed world...there was a study done recently in France that showed that HIV patients receiving proper medication actually have longer life expectancies than the general public, due to the close medication attention they receive.

Offline Die_Hard

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Re: Researchers report possible HIV infection cure; others cite dangers
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2010, 01:54:53 AM »
There was time open heart surgery was beyond most too.

Offline sammy

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Re: Researchers report possible HIV infection cure; others cite dangers
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2010, 04:08:12 AM »
I am sure there will be a cure sooner or later.
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Offline Mr Fix-it

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Re: Researchers report possible HIV infection cure; others cite dangers
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2010, 08:04:22 AM »
What alyu talking bout, look at Magic Johnson long time he HIV positive and it never went to AIDS....All you have to do is have money and the cure will be available.
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Offline Die_Hard

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Re: Researchers report possible HIV infection cure; others cite dangers
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2010, 09:54:52 AM »
What alyu talking bout, look at Magic Johnson long time he HIV positive and it never went to AIDS....All you have to do is have money and the cure will be available.

Hello, he still has HIV, the virus that causes AIDS...ever heard of it?  To say Magic was cured is pushing the envelope.


Offline Mr Fix-it

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Re: Researchers report possible HIV infection cure; others cite dangers
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2010, 10:32:38 AM »
What alyu talking bout, look at Magic Johnson long time he HIV positive and it never went to AIDS....All you have to do is have money and the cure will be available.

Hello, he still has HIV, the virus that causes AIDS...ever heard of it?  To say Magic was cured is pushing the envelope.


No not really....The point is he still here and when you have coin to cover the cost of the meds things good.  It have countless ppl walking round with HIV and not looking as good as Magic.  Not to mention, I know it have ppl who was HIV positive and on the same meds and within a couple of yrs have it turn into full blown AIDS.  So yu telling me he not cured?  Jokes aside, this is a serious matter and I believe that their is a cure, but the money isn't in the cure but in the treatment.  Anyway, thanks bamsee for pointing out the the difference to me  ::)
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Offline Bakes

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Re: Researchers report possible HIV infection cure; others cite dangers
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2010, 10:41:22 AM »
Man has never been able to find a cure for any viral infection, not polio, not smallpox, not chicken pox, not measels... not even the common cold.  It is naive to blithely say that "I'm sure one day they'll find a cure."  I wish they would, but I don't see it happening anytime soon, viruses are just a different issue altogether.

Offline ribbit

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Re: Researchers report possible HIV infection cure; others cite dangers
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2010, 11:25:38 AM »
come sunday, some minister/preacher gorn put dey spin on dis item. ent AIDS was God's curse on homos? now dey turning fetus into a cure?!  :o  dat is sin atop sin! :whip:

Offline Blue

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Re: Researchers report possible HIV infection cure; others cite dangers
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2010, 02:39:43 PM »
What alyu talking bout, look at Magic Johnson long time he HIV positive and it never went to AIDS....All you have to do is have money and the cure will be available.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/jmuOhy-YXdE" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/jmuOhy-YXdE</a>