Stem cell transplant 'cures' HIV

2010-12-15 21:03

Washington - A US cancer patient who received a stem cell transplant has been cured of HIV, said a team of German doctors whose research was published in the peer-reviewed journal Blood on Wednesday.

"Our results strongly suggest that cure of HIV has been achieved in this patient," said the study.

The results suggest the first such cure for the virus that causes Aids, though experts caution it may not be safe or feasible for the wider population.

The subject of the study, an American in his 40s who is often referred to as the "Berlin patient," received a stem cell transplant as treatment for acute myeloid leukemia in 2007.

The stem cells came from a donor with a rare gene mutation that makes it impossible to contract HIV.

The study showed no sign of HIV more than two years after the transplant, even though the patient had ceased anti-retroviral therapy to suppress HIV.

The research team was led by Kristina Allers and Gero Hutter at Charite - University Medicine Berlin.

Commenting on the findings to the Miami Herald, US Aids researcher Margaret Fischl said the process was too radical for use in the general public, and carries harsh side effects, but showed promise toward developing other cures.

"I would call this a functional cure," Fischl was quoted as saying. "It's on the level and a very remarkable case. But would we do this with an HIV patient? No."

The journal Blood is a publication of the American Society of Hematology.

  • Rugby-World - 2010-12-15 21:33

    "and carries harsh side effects" is one of them dying? I think not. Tradeoff Auctions

  • pointblankza - 2010-12-15 22:16

    HIV and possible death or stem cell and side effects but living.... gee, what a difficult choice..#NOT

  • Jules - 2010-12-15 22:28

    This is old news. Like at least a year old already...?

      christoff.truter - 2010-12-16 05:59

      News24 tends to be quite out of date

      christoff.truter - 2010-12-16 05:59

      News24 tends to be quite out of date

  • Peter - 2010-12-16 08:04

    How is it possible for this to work on one patient and not the rest? Please grow up! Maybe you are leaving a 'back door open' to cover your tracks when the big pharma gets hold of you. (They don't like being challenged, especially when proven to be wrong about their grand statements on health matters.)

  • PonkieDiel - 2010-12-16 10:13

    Tell them about the Beetroot & Garlick cure, Manto Shabalala-Maak-My-Bang

  • greppo - 2010-12-20 08:15

    The stem cell transplant was from a patient CCR5D32/D32, which only grants immunity against certain strains of HIV that rely on CCR5 to enter cells. When they call it a "radical treatment", it involves killing your existing stem cells to be replaced by those of the donor. Rejection of the donor cells would be fatal. To quote: “The problem is most people with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa and this is hugely expensive, you have to find a matched donor, and it’s a pretty severe and painful operation,” --Professor Andrew Sewell from the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Immunology at the University of Cardiff told BBC News.

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