Bone Marrow Transplant Cures AIDS?
German hematologists Eckhard Thiel and Gero Huetter of Berlin's Charite Medical University believe they may have cured an AIDS patient of his AIDS by virtue of a bone marrow transplant, given for an unrelated illness. An unidentified 42 yr. old American living in Berlin and suffering from AIDS developed an unrelated leukemia, which the doctors treated with a bone marrow transplant. Now, 20 months after the procedure, doctors can find no sign of AIDS in the patient.
The HIV retrovirus survives inside of white blood cells, all of which are completely eradicated prior to a bone marrow transplant. The white blood cells are then restored from the donor's bone marrow. One American and one European in 1,000 carries a gene mutation which happens to confer resistance to infection of the white blood cells with HIV. In searching for a tissue match for his patient's bone marrow transplant, Dr. Huetter managed to find a donor who was not only a tissue match, but also carried the mutant gene for HIV resistance.
Bone marrow transplants have been attempted before as treatments for HIV. In a 1999 review of 32 such attempts reported in the journal Medical Hypotheses, two apparent cures were reported. None of the prior studies, however, attempted to find donors who were both a tissue match and who carried the gene for HIV resistance.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases in the U.S., said the procedure was too costly and too dangerous to employ as a firstline cure for AIDS, however.
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I heard about this story on AOL, and I thought this was it, the cure has been found, but of course, there isn't enough evidence yet to prove this as the first ever cure for AIDS. I hope that more research and testing is done on this method, so we can find out for sure whether or not this is really the cure doctors and scientists have been looking for, for so long. As deadly as AIDS has become, the entire LGBT community should pay close attention to this story, as it seriously affects us all in some way.
There are some inherent problems with this though;
1. As it stands now, we can't even get enough bone marrow for people with Leukemia.
2. The average cost for a simple bone marrow transplant is $250,000. Imagine how much this specialized type of bone marrow transplant is going to cost.
3. The vast majority of AIDS patients are in the poorest regions, so they will be flooding western countries to get treatment on backs of the taxpayers in these countries.