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Old 02-12-2009, 11:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Man appears free of HIV after stem cell transplant

Yet you crazy liberals still support stem cell research, it's clearly not going to help anyone.


http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/02/11...ref=rss_latest


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42-year-old HIV patient with leukemia appears to have no detectable HIV in his blood and no symptoms after a stem cell transplant from a donor carrying a gene mutation that confers natural resistance to the virus that causes AIDS, according to a report published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.


The patient underwent a stem cell transplant and since, has not tested positive for HIV in his blood.

"The patient is fine," said Dr. Gero Hutter of Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin in Germany. "Today, two years after his transplantation, he is still without any signs of HIV disease and without antiretroviral medication."

The case was first reported in November, and the new report is the first official publication of the case in a medical journal. Hutter and a team of medical professionals performed the stem cell transplant on the patient, an American living in Germany, to treat the man's leukemia, not the HIV itself.

However, the team deliberately chose a compatible donor who has a naturally occurring gene mutation that confers resistance to HIV. The mutation cripples a receptor known as CCR5, which is normally found on the surface of T cells, the type of immune system cells attacked by HIV.

The mutation is known as CCR5 delta32 and is found in 1 percent to 3 percent of white populations of European descent.

HIV uses the CCR5 as a co-receptor (in addition to CD4 receptors) to latch on to and ultimately destroy immune system cells. Since the virus can't gain a foothold on cells that lack CCR5, people who have the mutation have natural protection. (There are other, less common HIV strains that use different co-receptors.)

People who inherit one copy of CCR5 delta32 take longer to get sick or develop AIDS if infected with HIV. People with two copies (one from each parent) may not become infected at all. The stem cell donor had two copies.


While promising, the treatment is unlikely to help the vast majority of people infected with HIV, said Dr. Jay Levy, a professor at the University of California San Francisco, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. A stem cell transplant is too extreme and too dangerous to be used as a routine treatment, he said.

"About a third of the people die [during such transplants], so it's just too much of a risk," Levy said. To perform a stem cell transplant, doctors intentionally destroy a patient's immune system, leaving the patient vulnerable to infection, and then reintroduce a donor's stem cells (which are from either bone marrow or blood) in an effort to establish a new, healthy immune system.

Levy also said it's unlikely that the transplant truly cured the patient in this study. HIV can infect many other types of cells and may be hiding out in the patient's body to resurface at a later time, he said.

"This type of virus can infect macrophages (another type of white blood cell that expresses CCR5) and other cells, like the brain cells, and it could live a lifetime. But if it can't spread, you never see it-- but it's there and it could do some damage," he said. "It's not the kind of approach that you could say, 'I've cured you.' I've eliminated the virus from your body."

Before undergoing the transplant, the patient was also found to be infected with low levels of a type of HIV known as X4, which does not use the CCR5 receptor to infect cells. So it would seem that this virus would still be able to grow and damage immune cells in his body. However, following the transplant, signs of leukemia and HIV were absent.

"There is no really conclusive explanation why we didn't observe any rebound of HIV," Hutter said. "This finding is very surprising."

Hutter noted that one year ago, the patient had a relapse of leukemia and a second transplant from the same donor. The patient experienced complications from the procedure, including temporary liver problems and kidney failure, but they were not unusual and may occur in HIV-negative patients, he said.

Researchers including Hutter agree that the technique should not be used to treat HIV alone. "Some people may say, 'I want to do it,'" said Levy. A more logical -- and potentially safer -- approach would be to develop some type of CCR5-disabling gene therapy or treatment that could be directly injected into the body, said Levy.

Less invasive options to alter CCR5 could be on the horizon within the next five years, said Levy. "It's definitely the wave of the future," he said. "As we continue to follow this one patient, we will learn a lot."

One drug that's currently on the market that blocks CCR5 is called maraviroc (Selzentry). It was first approved in 2007 and is used in combination with other antiretroviral drugs.

In 2007, an estimated 2 million people died from AIDS, and 2.7 million people contracted HIV. More than 15 million women are infected worldwide. HIV/AIDS can be transmitted through sexual intercourse, sharing needles, pregnancy, breast-feeding, and/or blood transfusions with an infected person.

"For HIV patients, this report is an important flicker of hope that antiretroviral therapy like HAART [highly active antiretroviral therapy] is not the endpoint of medical research," Hutter said.
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Old 02-12-2009, 11:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I didn't even read the article, but I'm sure this is a Pro Stem Cell thread, so I'll have a go at it.

They aren't going to use it for anything that will be good for the masses. They just won't. As long as you're OK with that fact, then keep fighting for it.

There has always been and always will be disease. It is needed and anyone that has control over what's getting released knows that.

I have no doubt that they have ways to fix/cure most of the main killers now and day and they choose not to. There is such a boom of growth going on now that it would be much, MUCH worse if they were able to save even 1/3 of those that die yearly.

I'm actually OK with this fact. I've los people that are very close to me do to cancer and heart disease, but I also understand that people have to die. Much like the cells in your body die and get replaced with new ones, so the people on earth have the same fate.

They are going to do the research and then it's going to get used on those few elite people that can afford it.
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Haha this is gonna get fun. I'm not going to voice my opinion all too much here, but Chris, that's a very morbid stance you've taken. When the Black Death wiped out a fourth a Europe, people started to shower more often and tried their best to stay clear of rats and fleas. Living longer and triumphing over disease is just a natural course.
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The guy said it would kill 1/3 of the people who tried that. So how does this prove how good stem cells are?
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by All_In_GSP View Post
Haha this is gonna get fun. I'm not going to voice my opinion all too much here, but Chris, that's a very morbid stance you've taken. When the Black Death wiped out a fourth a Europe, people started to shower more often and tried their best to stay clear of rats and fleas. Living longer and triumphing over disease is just a natural course.
I know that it's morbid and I'm OK with that. Maybe it's just a way of helping me deal with all the loved ones I've lost in my life.

But back to the topic, death is a part of life that I understand. It's needed for the world as we know it to exist.

I'm not saying that we should release killer diseases or anything like that, but we have to allow a lot of them to run their course.

Population growth is a good thing as long as it's kept in check, if anything grows to fast, it's bad for the long term outlook.
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Just you wait until that guy grows an extra head and his penis falls off!
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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So I'm guessing you never take medication then? Are you a scientologist or a Jovo?
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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So I'm guessing you never take medication then? Are you a scientologist or a Jovo?
I assume that you're asking me that question, and of course I take medication when I'm ill. I never said that we should do away with Doctors and medicine, I said that Terminal disease is needed and will be allowed to do it's job, no matter what they find the Stem Cells can heal.

And I'm neither a Scientologist or a Jehovah's Witness (I think that's what you meant by Jovo). I'm intelligent enough to see the big picture.
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Being skeptical about a treatment that has very limited benefits and a low success rate is not the same as whether or not someone chooses to take any medication themselves.
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Old 02-12-2009, 01:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It just seams strange that someone would say that we need disease and yet take medication...

I think burning fat people would be a better method of population control.
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