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A 42-year-old HIV patient with leukemia continues to show no signs of HIV in his blood, two years after a stem cell transplant from a donor with a gene mutation that confers natural resistance to the virus that causes AIDS.
Originally posted by TheBloodRed
Thanks for this, but please be advised that HIV and AIDS are two separate things.
Finally, he recommended standard second-line treatment: a bone marrow transplant -- but from a donor who had inherited the CCR5 mutation from both parents. Bone marrow is where immune-system cells are generated, so transplanting mutant bone-marrow cells would render the patient immune to HIV into perpetuity, at least in theory.
There were a total of 80 compatible blood donors living in Germany. Luckily, on the 61st sample he tested, Dr. Hütter's colleague Daniel Nowak found one with the mutation from both parents.
To prepare for the transplant, Dr. Hütter first administered a standard regimen of powerful drugs and radiation to kill the patient's own bone marrow cells and many immune-system cells. This procedure, lethal to many cells that harbor HIV, may have helped the treatment succeed.
The transplant specialists ordered the patient to stop taking his AIDS drugs when they transfused the donor cells, because they feared the powerful drugs might undermine the cells' ability to survive in their new host. They planned to resume the drugs once HIV re-emerged in the blood.
But it never did. Nearly two years later, standard tests haven't detected virus in his blood, or in the brain and rectal tissues where it often hides.