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  AIDS WATCH

Two More Men “Cured” Of HIV Through Bone-Marrow Transplant

Two men who underwent bone-marrow transplants in the U.S. are now free of the HIV virus, reports CBS News.

The two patients are not linked:  One, in his 20s, was born with the virus while the other, in his 50s, acquired HIV at the start of the AIDS epidemic in America. They had their transplants in 2008 and 2010.

Evidence of the virus seemed to disappear from both men’s DNA as they received new stem cells from donors and maintained a steady diet of antiretroviral drugs.

A similar miracle occured for Timothy Ray Brown, the so-called Berlin Patient, who was fortunate enough to have a donor with a rare immunity to HIV that was passed on to him. Brown said in a statement, “We can only hope that this case and today’s development represents the beginning of the end of this plague.”

And it is only a beginning: Finding bone-marrow donor matches is no easy feat and it’s still far too soon to tell if any of these men will remain HIV- for the rest of their lives.

Still, the news is encouraging.

Photo: CDC/ C. Goldsmith

By:           Dan Avery
On:           Jul 30, 2012
Tagged: , , , ,

  • 17 Comments
    • Jon
      Jon

      This really irritates me. 30+ years of rigorous scientific research, hundreds of millions of dollars of research by thousands of dedicated scientists and now suddenly the word “miracle” is used to describe advancements. Really? So God gets the credit for small cures, but no blame for the disease. Great gig if you can get it….

      Jul 30, 2012 at 7:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jim H.
      Jim H.

      @Jon: Try to contain yourself. No one said a thing about the supernatural here. The word “miracle” obviously refers to the occurrence of a good, yet extremely low probability event.

      Though I will say that the knee-jerk intolerance some allegedly liberal people show to faith is disheartening.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 8:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daez
      Daez

      @Jim H.: Maybe that is because religion has shown us direct intolerance for the past 2000 years.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 10:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Will
      Will

      @Daez: And two wrongs always make a right.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 11:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ruhlmann
      Ruhlmann

      @Jim H.: I have no problem with faith, it’s the majority of the faithful I have always had issues with. Every anti gay measure legislated in your country has been put forth and passed by the showy evangelical kind of Christianity unique to America.
      In Canada we keep religion in the churches, synagogues and mosques where it belongs. We don’t like it in our schools or government. We are suspicious of politicians expressing religion. Since the 1960’s our society has become increasingly secular and the fact that Canadian LGBT have complete equality in every part of society is a good indication of this.
      A knee jerk reaction to religion in your country is natural to the people who are abused by the “faithful”. American faith would be comicly entertaining on the surface were it not for the sinister and repulsive intent of so many of the faithful.

      If these men remain HIV free it certainly is a great scientific achievement.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 3:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scott
      Scott

      “… it’s still far too soon to tell if any of these men will remain HIV- for the rest of their lives.”

      Won’t they be HIV + for the rest of their lives since they have antibodies? No viral load but positive to the antibody test?

      Jul 30, 2012 at 5:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @Jon: Since when does a miracle have to be about God? I also question your logic….Billions of dollars and years of research have made strides in the field of HIV research but a fluke result from a bone marrow transplant, something relatively simple in the medical world, may serve as the cure for the disease. That, by all accounts, is miraculous or serendipitious.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 5:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @Jim H…I don’t really buy into the “we’re not all that bad” argument that many religious folk give in response to the hate spewed out by the loony evangelical right. If you are a Catholic, an evangelical, a lutheran, no matter how open-minded you might be, you still are a member of a faith that condemns gays and lesbians on a daily basis. Isn’t that a form of tacit support for discrimination? You might be one of the few who fights along side us, who works for change, but a good portion of you who claim to be open-minded, for gay marriage and equal rights, still put money in the coffers and support an institution that is, by and large, a proponent of hate. There is nothing “knee-jerk” about any of our reactions to faith.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 5:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jon
      Jon [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Michael: Are you serious? There is a monumental difference between serendipity and the miraculous.

      Oxford dictionary definition of miracle. : “an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency:”

      Is that clear enough?

      When scientists say “miraculous” cure, what they mean is unusual. What religious nutters hear is “God did it”.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 8:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jj
      jj

      This is great and all, but a bone marrow transplant is Extremely painful for both the donor and the recipient. I feel that Hiv $$ should be spent on getting every infected person in the world on ARV’s. Make everyones load undetectable and you will seriously reduce the infection rate. There are some good vaccine trials going on in Canada too, but they take forever to test/approve.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 8:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      Jon…so what if there’s a difference. Either could apply to this finding, depending on all of the facts(which neither you nor I have). More importantly, I’m not sure what your point is regarding the textbook definition of miracle. You yourself just indicated that we use the word to mean different things, in different situations, which was my point in the first place.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 9:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jon
      Jon [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Michael: It is important because I am one of those weird people who wants money spent on real science and research and any result of that fantastic endeavor to be correctly attributed to medicine and science and not so wacko Yahwey figure who apparently exists and apparently gets the the kudos for very occasional positive things without a shred of evidence, but none of the blame for the hell on earth that is the day to day existence for most people on this planet.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 9:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the other Greg
      the other Greg

      @jj: Yes, and getting every infected person in the world on ARV’s would cost surprisingly little too. The bone marrow transplants may be dramatic – if not exactly “miraculous” – but obviously don’t have much practical implication for tens of millions of people.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 10:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 12 · Jon [Different person #1 using similar name] wrote, “@Michael: It is important because I am one of those weird people who wants money spent on real science and research and any result of that fantastic endeavor to be correctly attributed to medicine and science and not so wacko Yahwey figure who apparently exists and apparently gets the the kudos for very occasional positive things without a shred of evidence,”

      Guys, the word “miracle”

      1. A wonder or wonderful thing.

      2. Specifically: An event or effect contrary to the
      established constitution and course of things, or a
      deviation from the known laws of nature; a supernatural
      event, or one transcending the ordinary laws by which the
      universe is governed.

      The term “miracle” can be used to describe completely unexpected events that require no “divine intervention”. An example can be found at http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/06/20/beyond-higgs-on-supersymmetry-or-lack-thereof/ where a result dubbed as the “Standard Model’s Goldstone miracle” made the theory workable. Since the term “miracle” can be used in this sense in a discussion of particle physics (in this case, a discussion of some mathematical questions regarding the theory, using “miracle” to describe a hard-to-predict-in-advance result from medical research is hardly unprecedented.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 11:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 10 · jj wrote, “This is great and all, but a bone marrow transplant is Extremely painful for both the donor and the recipient.”

      A bone marrow transplant is an iffy procedure with a high fatality rate. It is not a useful cure for HIV. What is of interest is that something seems to have actually worked and now that we have more than one case, we can assume there wasn’t something else going on specific to the first patient to try this.

      They didn’t just do a transplant – they did a transplant that produced T cells that had a variation of a specific receptor, and that variation prevented those T cells from being infected. Given proof that this works, the obvious next step is to find a way of creating the same effect (the modified T cells) without the risk of a real bone-marrow transplant.

      Jul 31, 2012 at 12:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BlogShag
      BlogShag

      Cure? How about not drinking alcohol, fucking and sucking without condoms, not eating a terrible diet, not doing drugs, or meth, or amyl nitrate to OBLIVION? That might cure it or prevent it. Just a thought.

      I don’t understand why people don’t want to admit that there’s a connection here. Not saying it’s an absolute, but it sure would help if people valued their health, instead of taking it for granted. I see it everyday by the way people behave, what they eat, the alcohol they drink, and the drugs they take.

      Aug 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MICHEAL
      MICHEAL

      this great man cure my hiv/aids with is herbal remedy drugs called INDI-DRUGS… contact him to cure your own too via: indianspell@yahoo.com

      Aug 8, 2012 at 12:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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