Two HIV-positive patients no longer have detectable HIV in their blood cells after they underwent bone marrow transplants, according to researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
ABC News reports:
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston have discovered that, following bone marrow transplants, two men no longer have detectable HIV in their blood cells.
The finding is significant because it suggests that by giving these patients transplants while they were on anti-retroviral therapy, they may have been cured of the AIDS-causing virus.
“We expected HIV to vanish from the patients’ plasma, but it is surprising that we can’t find any traces of HIV in their cells,” said Dr. Timothy Henrich, one of the researchers studying the two men. “It suggests that under the cover of anti-retroviral therapy, the cells that repopulated the patient’s immune system appear to be protected from becoming re-infected with HIV.”
The findings were presented Thursday at the AIDS 2012 conference in Washington, D.C. The story shares similarities with that of Timothy Ray Brown, also known as “the Berlin patient,” but there are important differences. While the cells used in Brown’s transplant procedure were specifically chosen from a donor who had a genetic mutation that resisted HIV, these patients received transplants with normal cells. Also, the two patients whose cases were presented at the meeting are still taking anti-retroviral medications normally used to treat HIV-positive patients, while Brown is no longer taking these medications.
Read the full article via ABC NEWS
The Berlin Patient: Timothy Ray Brown Speaks Out on Being First Man “Cured” of HIV