Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy

8Nov/08Off

A Cure For AIDS?

I just stumbled across this link from the Wall Street Journal about a man that was accidentally cured of his AIDS when his doctor treated his leukemia with a bone marrow transplant.

It is well documented in the literature that people homozygous for a mutation in the CCR5 receptor are effectively immune to HIV; the virus must use the CCR5 protein as a dock while it infects white blood cells. Kill off enough white blood cells and the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) develops. However, one simple mutation in the cell and they are effectively impervious to the virus.

By giving his patient a bone marrow transplant from a donor who was homozygous for the CCR5 receptor, Dr. Hütter effectively insured that any new white blood cells made would be immune. The patient is still a viral carrier... but simply won't develop the symptoms of AIDS.

Now, whether we should subject everyone with HIV to a bone marrow transplant - a costly, often dangerous procedure with significant longterm side effects - is a matter for another debate. But in the meantime, this is an overwhelmingly interesting development in the field of HIV research.

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  1. I am not in any way connected with the medical community (just a disclaimer). But I am just amazed. I wish I could go back and do it all over. You get frustrated but you are doing something I wish I could do.

  2. Sorry, but I’m skeptical.


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