UK patient 'free' of HIV after stem cell treatment

Tue 5 Mar, 2019 02:19 am
A UK patient's HIV has become "undetectable" following a stem cell transplant - in only the second case of its kind, doctors report in Nature.

The London patient, who was being treated for cancer, has now been in remission for 18 months and is no longer taking HIV drugs.

The researchers say it's too early to say the patient is 'cured' of HIV.

Experts caution the approach is not practical for healthy people with HIV, but may ultimately help find a cure.

The male 'London' patient, who has not been named, was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 and advanced Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2012.

He had chemotherapy to treat the Hodgkin's cancer and, in addition, stem cells were implanted into the patient from a donor resistant to HIV, leading to both his cancer and HIV going into remission.

Researchers from University College London, Imperial College London, Cambridge and Oxford Universities were all involved in the case.

This is the second time a patient treated this way has ended up in remission from HIV.

Ten years ago, another patient in Berlin received a bone marrow transplant from a donor with natural immunity to the virus.

Timothy Brown, said to be the first person to 'beat' HIV/AIDS, was given two transplants and total body irradiation (radiotherapy) for leukaemia - a much more aggressive treatment.

"By achieving remission in a second patient using a similar approach, we have shown that the Berlin Patient was not an anomaly, and that it really was the treatment approaches that eliminated HIV in these two people," said lead study author Prof Ravindra Gupta from UCL.

Prof Eduardo Olavarria, also involved in the research, from Imperial College London, said the success of stem cell transplantation offered "hope in the search for a long-awaited cure for HIV/AIDS".

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Tue 5 Mar, 2019 06:47 pm
I suppose that immuno -suppression is a big reason why this wont be a "first choice" for just AIDS treatment when the available meds work so well. Gotta weigh the risks before entering such a scheme of treatment.

Tue 5 Mar, 2019 07:26 pm
True - but do the available meds remove the chance of infecting another person, or just suppress the HIV developing into full-blown AIDS? (Medical biology is not my strong suite).
Wed 6 Mar, 2019 01:33 am
I don't know enough about it, I got my O levels in Biology and Human Biology when I was 16. It does seem like a good news story though.

I would like to thank everyone for voting this thread back up. There's a committed core of right wingers who vote down all my threads, and I never thought this one would see the light of day again.
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Wed 6 Mar, 2019 04:48 am
I saw in the NYT that the present "cocktail" of anti HIV meds do lower the HIV to below detection which means th chances for tranmitting it are at a level of HIV free people. A rep of the UK team that did the marrow transplanttation felt that using this to just treat HIV (if the host DID NOT have Hodgdkins) would be too risky, because immuno supression is part of the whole procedure and that risk is too high to accept because meds work 100%

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