HIV Patient ‘Functionally Cured’ After Stem Cell Transplant
December 15, 2010
(ChattahBox Science News)—An American HIV patient being treated for leukemia in Germany underwent chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant to treat his advancing illness, and doctors were stunned to find that the procedure cured both the HIV and the leukemia, Fox News reports. Because the stem cells came from a donor with a rare, inherited gene mutation that makes carriers immune to HIV, the infusion allowed the patient to put his HIV diagnosis behind him.
Although the news is impressive, HIV experts warn that the therapy cannot yet be used on the entire HIV population, Fox News says. Noting that the patient is “functionally cured,” Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes for Allergy and Infectious Diseases warned that the stem cells used in this case are extremely rare, and that an HIV patient would not only have to find a stem cell donor with the unusual mutation, but would also have to be a match.
The patient in question has gone without HIV therapy for three years and doctors agree that he appears to be free of the virus, Fox News reports. Researchers hope that the news opens the door to new and different means of curing the HIV disease.