German Doctor Cures an HIV Patient With a Bone Marrow Transplant

  • jimmiefromaol

    Posts: 6

    Nov 11, 2008 1:05 AM GMT
    just curious what others think about this...

    http://science.slashdot.org/science/08/11/09/1558241.shtml
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Nov 11, 2008 1:14 AM GMT
    interesting
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 11, 2008 1:25 AM GMT
    jimmiefromaol saidjust curious what others think about this...

    http://science.slashdot.org/science/08/11/09/1558241.shtml


    any other proof of this
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 11, 2008 5:50 AM GMT
    I'll ask my teachers if this is possible.

    (I'm a med student, so all my teachers are doctors icon_razz.gif)
  • dfrourke

    Posts: 1062

    Nov 11, 2008 6:51 AM GMT
    possible or not...I would lilke to see if this can be replicated...I'm sure there is something to learn from this trial...however...

    1. Bone Marrow can not be transplanted universally. You must be a match.
    2. BM transplantation is painful - both for the donor and the transplantee.
    3. BM transplantation is expensive - probably not cost effective for a large population

    I do think it's an interesting approach. Our knowledge of the human immune system has grown exponentially due to HIV/AIDS and somehow I believe our natural immune response is the best approach if possible...

    - David
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 11, 2008 7:28 AM GMT
    One of the main reasons for the lack of success in finding a cure for AIDS is because the virus hides in macrophages in the brain and many drugs have difficulty passing across the blood brain barrier. By eliminating the precursor cells in the bone marrow for all white blood cells including macrophages and then replacing them with cells that do not have the CCR5 marker the virus would eventually find no place to hide because the older cells with the marker would eventually die.

    However, as the article points out there are some very serious problems with this procedure. The first is the difficulty in finding donor cells for transplant. The article states, “There were a total of 80 compatible blood donors living in Germany. Luckily, on the 61st sample he tested, Dr. Hütter's colleague Daniel Nowak found one with the mutation from both parents.” Apparently only 1% of people of European descent do not have the marker and it is very rare amongst Asians, Africans and South Americans to find a donor without the marker. When the scientists talk about compatibility with a donor they are talking about matching a donors white cell markers with the patient’s markers. This is a much more complicated process than finding a red cell donor as happens in a normal blood transfusion. I am wondering though if these cells could be harvested from a donor and then replicatied in a culture medium so they could be used in more than one patient.

    The second problem is with mortality rate among transplant patients. When they purposely kill all the precursor cells in a person’s bone marrow they effectively become very susceptible to disease because of the lack of an immune system. The article states, “The transplant treatment itself, given only to late-stage cancer patients, kills up to 30% of patients. While scientists are drawing up research protocols to try this approach on other leukemia and lymphoma patients, they know it will never be widely used to treat AIDS because of the mortality risk.”
  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Nov 11, 2008 7:35 AM GMT
    I'm suspicious of this. I seem to recall they tried this early on in the crisis with no success. What's different now? And as Alexander stated about, the HIV virus is notorious for its ability to lay in wait. I don't think a bone marrow transplant would solve this.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 11, 2008 12:24 PM GMT
    Aside from the medical validity of this, I wonder about the numbers. Could the relatively rare immune donors be able to provide enough bone marrow cells for all the HIV patients in the world? Can these cells be cloned?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 11, 2008 3:29 PM GMT
    One question I have is this: if the death rate is 30% in late stage cancer patients, what would it be in HIV+ people who are otherwise very healthy. I would think late stage cancer patients would have a much higher mortaility rate.

    Say the death rate was 5-10% for otherwise healthy people, it might change things?

    Anyone know anything about this?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 13, 2008 6:53 AM GMT
    The story has made mainstream press which is comforting. Here are links to the BBC and Yahoo News stories; on the same page are videos you can check out, too.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7726118.stm

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081113/ap_on_he_me/eu_med_aids_treatment

    Sounds very exciting, however it is also not being touted as a widely applicable method of curing HIV/AIDS, but instead is seen as inspiration to re-engineer an HIV+ person's white blood cells with the intent to remove certain receptor sites, and re-introduce them into the patient's system. Though I'd guess that would mean they'd have to get a consistent flow of these re-engineered cells; advantage to having bone marrow is that it is an internal and consistent provider of cells. But considered "unethical" to transplant bone marrow to cure AIDS as risk of death is significantly high, as mentioned in above posts, in such a procedure.

    Anyway, just some re-iteration of the news in more legitimate venues for y'all.
  • dfrourke

    Posts: 1062

    Nov 14, 2008 3:37 AM GMT
    Mycro saidOne question I have is this: if the death rate is 30% in late stage cancer patients, what would it be in HIV+ people who are otherwise very healthy. I would think late stage cancer patients would have a much higher mortaility rate.

    Say the death rate was 5-10% for otherwise healthy people, it might change things?

    Anyone know anything about this?


    The mortality rate is 20-30% in transplantees, because in order to transplant the donor bone marrow, you must first kill off all of the transplantees bone marrow - effectively destroying the persons immune system and leaving them absolutely defenseless against the littlest germ...

    ...its wierd...for this procedure to have eventually helped restore a seemingly normal immune system, they first had to completely wipe out the old one...

    Not sure I would take that risk...especially after reading the damn thread about how unclean shopping cart handles are and public sinks...

    - David icon_eek.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 14, 2008 6:42 AM GMT
    Im sure there is a cure out there, they dont cant let there be one.

    Why would they, if everyone is cured, eventually they cant make money off the infected anymore
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 14, 2008 6:43 AM GMT
    I never followed Magic Johnson's story. How did he end up "cured".
  • dfrourke

    Posts: 1062

    Nov 14, 2008 4:42 PM GMT

    I don't believe MJ is "cured"...he just doesn't really talk about being HIV positive that much in public [that I have noticed anyway]...has he ever mentioned being "cured"? [that would be news to me]

    Anti-retrovirals are thought to be a 'functional cure' if taken properly for an individual [they don't wipe out or eliminate the risk of infecting someone else], but they do lower that risk significantly and the current mortality rates show that HIV positive individuals live about 5 years short of their expected life span...that's some amazing progress in about 30 years...

    Not as good as eradicating the virus completely of course.

    I'm not even going to continue addressing the previous post about not finding a cure because of economic issues...it is pessimistic, ill conceived, and counters logic...and a topic all of it's own in another thread

    - David icon_wink.gif

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 14, 2008 5:00 PM GMT

    I'd see the irony that a bone is what would save us. icon_neutral.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 20, 2008 5:59 PM GMT
    My "first" had two bone marrow transplants to combat hodgkin's disease. The first one worked for a few years, then the cancer came back. The second did not and he passed away at the age of 33. The transplants were not easy procedures to go through.
  • RIGuy21

    Posts: 5

    Nov 28, 2008 6:39 PM GMT
    This is a huge discussion right now. American doctors and researchers sincerely doubt the probability of this story. Bone marrow has been tried before and the Idea of it curing HIV or erasing it from the body is highly unlikely. I teach a program about HIV/AIDS to middle school students and we've been discussing this subject a lot.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 16, 2012 11:35 PM GMT
    Having cared for a loved one for the last several years a BMT is a last resort. Morbitity rates are as different as those being trested but, from what I've learned it's about 50%. Even if one survives other, life changing, side effects are not uncommon.