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Thread: Bone Marrow Transplant Curing HIV?!

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    Bone Marrow Transplant Curing HIV?!

    I came across this article while researching Pfizer (company that makes viagra, and no I wasn't looking for viagra). Anyways, it talks about a person who was suffering from both Leukemia and HIV that got a marrow transplant. Just thought it was an interesting read:

    Health Blog : Did a Bone Marrow Transplant Cure a Cancer Patient of AIDS?

    A 42-year-old man who had both leukemia and AIDS received a bone marrow transplant — a common, late-stage treatment for that type of cancer. His doctor selected a bone marrow donor who had a rare genetic mutation that renders people virtually immune to HIV. The transplant appeared to cure the patient of AIDS.

    We’re as wary as the next guy of inferring too much from a single case study. Maybe it was a fluke; maybe there were unknown factors at work. But this one is pretty intriguing.

    The case was presented at a conference earlier this year (here’s the abstract), and written up in this morning’s WSJ.

    As is common for bone marrow transplant recipients, the patient first had radiation and chemotherapy, which tends to kill off many of the immune cells that harbor HIV. After the transplant, the patient’s immune system was repopulated by cells created by the donor marrow.

    The donor had a mutation, present in about 1% of Europeans, that creates immune system cells that lack a receptor molecule called CCR5. That receptor plays an important role in HIV’s ability to enter the cell. (Pfizer’s HIV drug Selzentry works by blocking CCR5.)

    So the patient’s immune system was repopulated with immune cells that carried the mutation. And, nearly two years after undergoing the transplant, he shows no signs of having any HIV left in his body — despite the fact that he hasn’t taken any AIDS drugs since before the transplant.

    Perhaps the most important caveat is just how risky bone marrow transplantation is: It’s given to cancer patients after other treatments fail, and it kills up to 30% of patients.

    But researchers hope to apply the apparent lessons of this case to strategies using gene therapy (which carries its own risks) to try to induce the protective mutation in patients with HIV.

    David Baltimore, who won a Nobel Prize for research on tumor viruses, has started a company to use gene therapy to target HIV. He calls this case “a very good sign” and a virtual “proof of principle” for gene-therapy approaches.

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    Re: Bone Marrow Transplant Curing HIV?!

    The donor had a mutation, present in about 1% of Europeans, that creates immune system cells that lack a receptor molecule called CCR5. That receptor plays an important role in HIV’s ability to enter the cell. (Pfizer’s HIV drug Selzentry works by blocking CCR5.)
    Damn that is one lucky SOB.

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    Re: Bone Marrow Transplant Curing HIV?!

    I'm also wondering how those people without the receptors, how their lives are different from a normal person with those cell receptors.

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    Re: Bone Marrow Transplant Curing HIV?!

    Grumble Grumble Grumble

    According to an article that was in the front page section of the Wall Street Journal (Fri, Nov 7, for anyone who wants to look at it at their local library), the researcher who administered the bone marrow transplant was seeking to prove a hypothesis that a marrow transplant that was homozygous (inherited from both parents) in the rare mutation might be therapeutic for the treatment of HIV. And since he had a HIV infected patient who was dying of leukemia and needed that bone marrow transplant...
    Out of 80 potential compatible bone marrow donors, he was able to find the homozygous mutation on the 61st try.

    The Odds for finding the match is surprising good... For those of you who want to tackle the statistics, a PBS episode of 'The Secrets of the Dead' stated that the prevalence of the mutation was 15% in the European population. The odds of a homozygous mutation would be (0.15^2), which means the odds of not being homozygous would be 1 - (0.15^2) and the odds of not finding a homozygous mutation out of 80 tries would be (1 - (0.15^2))^80, which turns out the odds of finding one would be pretty good....

    According to the 'Secrets of the Dead' episode, the mutation is roughly 15% in Europe, but in other regions of the world, the mutation is extremely rare. The reason why the mutation is more common in Europe is because the mutation, besides protecting against HIV, also has protective effects against Bubonic Plague, which uses the same infection gateways into the white blood cells...

    SECRETS OF THE DEAD . Mystery of the Black Death | PBS
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    Question Re: Bone Marrow Transplant Curing HIV?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Legend View Post
    I came across this article while researching Pfizer (company that makes viagra, and no I wasn't looking for viagra). [/url]
    Did you mean to look for enzyte instead? O.o


    (bu-dum-psh)



    Did it say wat mutation exactly took place from the donor?
    Yay-yea?

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    Re: Bone Marrow Transplant Curing HIV?!

    Haha, I thought it was funny how you called Pfizer a "company that makes viagra" cuz that makes them out to be a company that sells nothing but
    viagra. Just to clear things up, they manufacture and market other products too - drugs that aren't necessarily sex drive enhancements. LOL.
    And they sponsor doctors - like my parents - on trips to conferences.

    And yeah. Back to BMTs. It's just like how people get transplants for SCIDS, and to add to the rarity of SCIDS patients, chances of survival after the
    transplant has occurred are extremely slim (because we all know about how these things backfire) =/ Though it IS kind of cool that it worked on
    a HIV positive man Things are looking brighter! (even if just a little.. ergh)

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    Re: Bone Marrow Transplant Curing HIV?!

    Yeah especially now they are saying how the virus is slowly adopting to the whole cocktail drug treatment. But I think many HIV patients will be willing to take the risk.
    Last edited by Hassun; Nov 12, 2008 at 01:54 PM. Reason: patience -> patients

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    Re: Bone Marrow Transplant Curing HIV?!

    Grumble Grumble Grumble

    For a slightly more detailed web article, MSNBC has posted a AP news posting...

    Marrow transplant may have cured man’s AIDS - AIDS
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