Friday, November 14, 2008

A cure for AIDS? A German Doctor thinks yes

I was surfing the 'net yesterday and came across an astonishing article about a U.S. citizen living in Germany who was diagnosed with leukemia and AIDS was cured of both!

The patient had prior treatment for his leukemia which failed. His physician, Dr. Gero Hütter, tried a second treatment, a bone marrow transplant using a molecule called CCR5. CCR5 acts as a kind of door for the virus. Since most HIV strains must bind to CCR5 to enter cells, the mutation bars the virus from entering. About 1% of Europeans, and even more in northern Europe, inherit the CCR5 mutation from both parents. People of African, Asian and South American descent almost never carry it. The bone marrow transplant was a success and for the last 600 days no AIDS virus has been detected in the patient's blood cells.

This treatment may lead to gene therapy as the solution to curing HIV and AIDS, which is a whole different argument, as gene therapy is a lot riskier than antiviral treatment.

Let's just hope we are that much closer to finding a cure - for all, for good.


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