posted on May, 16 2011 @ 07:15 PM
It is not only old news, but it is NOT a cure. Unless someone with HIV wants to give up a working drug routine (which BTW has a much greater than 25%
changce of keeping them alive) and endure a very painful, and very risky procedure. However it did prove a concept, and the researchers are pursuing
DO you realize that a 'bone marrow transplant' requires killing off the existing bone marrow? Survival rates for this procedure are about 25%. Not a
procedure that anyone with the disease is willing to endure unless they have no options (as in this guy with HIV and leukemia). The doctors tried it
since there was nothing to lose (killing the leukemia without killing the HIV would have left him with severe doctor-induced AIDS and hardly any
chance at recovery). So they focused on blood marrow donors with the missing receptor.
Now, there is ongoing effort to implement this method thru gene therapy, and so far it is showing promise at the end of Phase 1 trials, and is gearing
up for Phase 2. The trials involve modifying the patients own T-cells to remove the CXCR5 receptor, then infusing back into the patient, to replicate
the immunity that about 1% of the public has. The HIV virus requires two receptors to force itself into the T-cell, CD4 and CXCR5. WIth one receptor
missing, it cannot infect. So far, they have proven that the gene-infusion method is producing resistant T-cells and multiplying...however they have
not tried it at a level that would allow these patients to get off the drugs - yet.
This immunity (missing CXCR5 receptor) is most common among populations that descended from people that lived thru and survived the smallpox epidemics
of Europe after the Middle Ages. It is noted that smallpox uses the same receptor, and so smallpox was effective in 'culling' those without it. Some
of those mutations that survived this period still exist today in a small subset of the population.
If the Phase 2 trial are a success, and it makes it to Phase 3, then we have something that may be useable. But this method (bone marrow transplant)
is just not an acceptable risk when there are drugs that are working (albiet with terrible side effects, but they work).