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Man cured of HIV?

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    Man cured of HIV?

    Is this real?

    Sorry, it won't paste.

    Highly unlikely. Unfortunately there are stories like this that crop up with some regularity, but there is no reason to believe he is cured of the disease. Viral titers may have fallen, giving negative antibody tests, but one thing that is known about HIV is that it hides (lurks, if you will) in bone marrow the cental nervous system, so even when tests come back with significantly lowered titers the virus is still there, still replicating.


      It appears to be valid.

      The patient, a 42-year-old American living in Berlin, is still recovering from his leukemia therapy, but he appears to have won his battle with AIDS. Doctors have not been able to detect the virus in his blood for more than 600 days, despite his having ceased all conventional AIDS medication. Normally when a patient stops taking AIDS drugs, the virus stampedes through the body within weeks, or days.
      T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

      My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown


        Patient Remains Susceptible to X4 HIV Infection

        The patient's peripheral and mucosal CD4+ T cells remained susceptible to infection with X4 HIV; thus, exogenous HIV reinfection still appears to be a risk, and host cells that survived the chemo-irradiation therapies remained potential sources for the rebound of X4 HIV. However, host-originating CD4+ T cells appeared to be completely removed from the patient's immune system during immune reconstitution; HIV was undetectable in the brain during a neuropathological episode, and no CCR5 expression could be detected in liver tissue sections, indicating the replacement of microglial and Kupffer cells by donor-derived cells.

        HIV Eradication Ongoing

        The patient remains without any evidence for HIV infection. "Although the recovered CD4+ T cells are susceptible to infection with X4 HIV infection, the patient remains without any evidence for HIV infection since more than 3.5 years after discontinuation of [antiretroviral therapy]," Dr. Allers and colleagues conclude. "From these results, it is reasonable to conclude that cure of HIV infection has been achieved in this patient," they add.

        According to Dr. Allers, probably the most important message is that an HIV cure is not completely impossible. "Our study findings are encouraging for the development of new treatment strategies that target the complete inhibition of interaction between HIV and CCR5," she told Medscape Medical News. "It remains to be seen whether this outcome can be replicated in other patients, and in my opinion, the possibility of a 'universal' cure for HIV infection will still need many years."

        "We've known about this case for some time" said Paul Sax, MD, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, "as it was originally presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in 2008. The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year," Dr. Sax told Medscape Medical News. "The key is now they have additional length of follow-up and certain other lab findings, such as restoration of gut-associated lymphoid tissue...and a declining titer of HIV antibody," he said.

        Transplant Not a Practical Approach for HIV

        According to Dr. Sax, a bone marrow transplant from a CCR5Δ32/Δ32 donor is not a practical approach for HIV cure for the millions who have HIV. "The up-front toxicity and risk of death are too high, especially given how safe antiretroviral therapy is now," he said. "Additionally, the proportion of people who have CCR5Δ32/Δ32 as potential donors is very small (especially in non-Caucasians). However, just the fact that it was achieved shows that there might be other strategies that can be more practically deployed — it's very tantalizing."

        Certainly the clinicians, the investigators, and the patient who tried this approach in Germany are to be credited for their foresight (and courage) in electing to stop antiretroviral therapy to see whether HIV would not, in fact, rebound. "I'm hopeful that soon there will be additional reports of this or a similar strategy being tried to see if the results can be duplicated," he said.

        According to John G. Bartlett, MD, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, the importance of this report is to show it could be done, but the method used cannot be duplicated in others.

        "About 2% of people have the CCR5Δ32/Δ32 phenotype and cannot get HIV infection," Dr. Bartlett told Medscape Medical News. "They had to find a donor who was compatible with the patient by routine methods and then find one from that group of 82 who had the Δ32 homology. This was done because the patient had leukemia, but it will not be done for HIV alone, because of the lack of donors and the risk," he explained.

        Paving the Way for a "Cure"

        The findings have prompted renewed interest in a cure, however. According to Dr. Bartlett, there are several different methods being pursued: emptying the reservoirs with highly active antiretroviral therapy to eliminate HIV, development of a therapeutic vaccine, and methods other than transplant to block receptors. "Many think a cure for HIV is impossible, but they also thought treatment could not be successful for a retrovirus 15 years ago."

        The study was supported by the German Research Foundation. The authors and commentators have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

        Blood. Published online December 8, 2010.


          They don't always tell the truth...

          I struggle to figure out who to believe and medical jargon gets lost sometimes.

          Especially where blood is concerned...I hated that chapter in Anatomy and Physiology.

          Thanks Eileen.
          T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

          My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown