Is a cure for AIDS on the horizon? - U2 Feedback

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Old 12-14-2010, 10:34 PM   #1
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Is a cure for AIDS on the horizon?

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On the heels of World AIDS Day comes a stunning medical breakthrough: Doctors believe an HIV-positive man who underwent a stem cell transplant has been cured as a result of the procedure.

Timothy Ray Brown, also known as the "Berlin Patient," received the transplant in 2007 as part of a lengthy treatment course for leukemia. His doctors recently published a report in the journal Blood affirming that the results of extensive testing "strongly suggest that cure of HIV infection has been achieved."


Stem Cell Transplant Cures HIV In 'Berlin Patient'
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:04 PM   #2
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That's amazing.

I see "stem cells" and cynically think we'll never make progress with it in the States because too many people are so anti stem cell research/usage.

Right?

Please correct me if I'm misunderstanding the controversy about stem cells.
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:08 PM   #3
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Hopefully they can replicate this in other people.
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by corianderstem View Post
That's amazing.

I see "stem cells" and cynically think we'll never make progress with it in the States because too many people are so anti stem cell research/usage.

Right?

Please correct me if I'm misunderstanding the controversy about stem cells.
Well, apparently this case was adult stem cells and not embryonic, I haven't found an article that is real clear on the details.

BUT, a Catholic website was very quick today to point out that this was not embryonic stem cells... and then a few other sources seemed to verify.
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:16 PM   #5
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Hopefully they can replicate this in other people.
Not likely, as you have to destroy the immune system to do something like this. The reason it was done to this man is because he had leukemia. You wouldn't put "healthy" HIV+ people through radiation and chemotherapy.

But there are lots of interesting things about this experiment.
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:17 PM   #6
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Thanks, BVS.

It's definitely exciting.
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:19 PM   #7
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agreed, this is exciting. it's obviously not something that can be done for every aids/hiv person but the fact that it even worked once is amazing.
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:19 PM   #8
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Researchers report possible HIV infection cure; others cite dangers - CNN.com

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"This probably is a cure, but it comes at a bit of a price," said Dr. Michael Saag, professor of medicine and director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham AIDS Center.

"For him to receive the donor cells, his body had to have all of his immune system wiped out" and then receive a bone marrow transplant, Saag noted. "The Catch-22 here is that the best candidates for a cure, ideally, are people who are healthy" and don't have leukemia.

The treatment associated with wiping out the immune system "is very hazardous," he said in a telephone interview.

"Even if somebody doesn't die from a transplant, there are complications that make it very unpleasant for people to live with," he said, citing graft-versus-host disease, where the infused donor cells attack the body. In a number of cases, the transplant proves fatal.

The study is a proof of the concept "that our understanding of HIV biology is correct, and that if you eliminate -- not just in theory but in practice -- all of the cells in the body that are producing HIV and replace them with uninfected cells, you have a cure," Saag said.

But remaining infected with HIV is not always associated with the same grim outcome that was the norm prior to the mid-1990s, when more effective anti-HIV drugs were developed, he said.

"We can keep people alive for a normal life span," he said. "That means a 25-year-old diagnosed today with HIV has a reasonably good chance of living to 80, 85, 90."

Further limiting the treatment's potential appeal is the fact that it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for each patient who gets it, he said.

"It's not going to be applicable unless they develop leukemia or lymphoma and need a bone-marrow transplant,"Saag said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called it impractical. "It's hard enough to get a good compatible match for a transplant like this," he said in a statement. "But you also have to find (a) compatible donor that has this genetic defect, and this defect is only found in 1% of the Caucasian population and 0% of the black population. This is very rare."

But HIV itself is not. According to the World Health Organization, 33.4 million people worldwide have the virus that causes AIDS.
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:22 PM   #9
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Just the idea that they found something gives me a lot of hope that they can find ways to improve on this. I mean that's how cures work, right?
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:26 PM   #10
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Just the idea that they found something gives me a lot of hope that they can find ways to improve on this. I mean that's how cures work, right?
exactly. sure this can only help people with virtually no immune system to speak of, but it's better than nothing.
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Old 12-15-2010, 12:22 AM   #11
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Ergh, that news about the threats involved with altering the immune system so drastically-if they figure out how to get around that obstacle, that would be stunning news.

As it is, though, this is certainly a very promising development in its own right . I hope more follow-up done with this leads to even better news, to wake up one day and actually hear they've got a definite cure ready and available would be amazing.

Cori, I thought the same thing you did right away, too. I hope people's resistance to stem cell research eases up more so that this has a shot. I actually think that will happen. It'll take some time, but I wouldn't be surprised if more people came around.

Angela
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Old 12-15-2010, 02:50 AM   #12
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Hopefully they can replicate this in other people.
It's not that simple. The donor's stem cells contained a rare, inherited gene mutation that "appears" to make carriers immune to HIV infection. So, it was kind of a fortunate accident.

Finding a compatible donor for stem cell transplant is really quite hard. And finding a compatible donor with a particular genetic defect (which according to stats, is found in 1% of the Caucasian population and 0% of the black population) is Impossible.

And it is yet to be confirmed if he is actually cured.
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:50 AM   #13
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And it is yet to be confirmed if he is actually cured.
well let's hope so for that guy's sake, because he sure has gone through a lot of bad shit.

Don't know if there ever will be a cure for this disease but articles like this do give hope.
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Old 12-16-2010, 11:42 PM   #14
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^ Well said.

Where i spend my childhood, people do not understand this disease too well and are truly scared of it. A cousin of one of my childhood friends was HIV+. She got married in 1995, and had three children.

It was detected in her only in June 2001 when her health severely deteriorated. By that time her husband and two children got infected.

Both parents died in '03. The eldest daughter was lucky, but sadly she died of pneumonia a few weeks later. Her brother was HIV+ and died in August '04. The youngest daughter was adopted by her aunt but was kept locked in a room for two years before someone informed an NGO.

During that time I watched a documentary on the possible treatments of AIDS and a part of it was on a man, which they claimed was the first person to be fully cured. Or maybe he was the one to survive for the longest period after infection. I'm not sure. I was really interested back then, but the following years of my life were quite tumultuous and now I can't really remember anything about it. I think his name was something like Bourne Messi ??

Anyways, a vaccine was tested in some parts of south east asia with about 25% success rate.
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Old 12-17-2010, 12:07 AM   #15
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I am so sorry to hear that story about your friend's relatives. That's horrible . My condolences to your friend and other surviving family members.

Angela
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