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.)