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Stem Cell Transplant Cures HIV In 'Berlin Patient'

Discussion in 'Opinions, Beliefs, & Points of View' started by Mordeci, Dec 14, 2010.

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  1. Mordeci

    Mordeci Banned Member


    On the heels of World AIDS Day comes a stunning medical breakthrough: Doctors believe an HIV-positive man who underwent a stem cell transplant has been cured as a result of the procedure.

    Timothy Ray Brown, also known as the "Berlin Patient," received the transplant in 2007 as part of a lengthy treatment course for leukemia. His doctors recently published a report in the journal Blood affirming that the results of extensive testing "strongly suggest that cure of HIV infection has been achieved."

    Brown's case paves a path for constructing a permanent cure for HIV through genetically-engineered stem cells.

    Last week, Time named another AIDS-related discovery to its list of the Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs of 2010. Recent studies show that healthy individuals who take antiretrovirals, medicine commonly prescribed for treating HIV, can reduce their risk of contracting the disease by up to 73 percent.

    While these developments by no means prove a cure for the virus has been found, they can certainly provide hope for the more than 33 million people living with HIV worldwide. Alongside such findings, global efforts to combat the epidemic have accelerated as of late, with new initiatives emerging in the Philippines and South Africa this week.
  2. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    Interesting read thanks gives hope to the thousands of suffering people lets hope they can help all who suffer not just rich
  3. molotov

    molotov Well-Known Member

    yeah, that's kind of the problem, violet... from what i understand the treatment is basically like

    1) take out the patient's entire immune system
    2) insert stem cells
    3) wait until stem cells build new healthy immune system
    4) ???
    5) profit!

    so it is pretty awesome that it can be done but getting the HMOs to pay for it is probably going to be what you might call an "uphill battle"

    but ten points for berlin anyway, woo-hoo!
  4. KittyGirl

    KittyGirl Well-Known Member

    oh, yay!

    It's an excellent start, I think~ the magic of stem cells! XD
  5. Lovecraft

    Lovecraft Well-Known Member

    You can't just 'take out' the immune system, it's not like there's a box in the body that is the whole of the system. The article gave wholly insufficient description of the transplant and zero reason for why it'd work. I'll trust them because they have a guy that appears to be HIV free and all but I still don't understand how it'd work, a retrovirus would, as far as I knew, just infect the new cells the same as any other.
  6. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    I'm uncertain of exactly how stem cell transplants and regeneration work. On such a potentially massive scale of hypothetically attempting this for use on the 35 million(?) HIV-infected people in the world, would that require more dead fetuses or are there other processes to harvest stem cells in large quantities?
  7. Issaccs

    Issaccs Well-Known Member

    My understanding is the stem cells were harvested from a matched adult?
    I'm not quite sure how the treatment differed from a normal bone marrow transplant is beyond me but I don't believe foetuses were involved.
  8. Lovecraft

    Lovecraft Well-Known Member

    It is possible to get stem cells from adults, however I'm unsure if they've progressed methods of doing so to the point where it's not just easier to go to the abortion clinic after hours.
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