Cancer Treatment May Have Cured Man's AIDS

After marrow transplant, patient stays virus-free
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2008 11:03 AM CST
Donated bone marrow ready to be injected into the recipient. The immune-cell-creating marrow can potentially keep AIDS at bay if it comes from a person with a specific mutation.   (Flickr)
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(Newser) – A German doctor has inspired hope for a new approach to AIDS treatment with his handling of a leukemia case, the Wall Street Journal reports. Because the patient also had AIDS, Gero Hütter looked for a bone marrow donor with a specific mutation that seems to stymie the HIV virus. Nearly 2 years later, the American patient remains AIDS-free.

About 1% of Europeans carry this mutation, which prevents the creation of a molecule that allows HIV easier access to human cells. The donated marrow seems to be offering Hütter’s patient continued protection, but such a treatment is not for everyone: such transplants have 30% mortality rates. Instead, gene therapy looks like a promising, and somewhat safer, line of research. (Read more AIDS stories.)

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