CCR-5 Delta-32 an HIV cure?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 29, 2009 5:26 AM GMT
    A friend of mine posted this on Facebook... has anyone else heard about this? Part of me wonders... with how much $ corporations are making on HIV Meds, if a real CURE was ever found... is HIV treatment too lucrative to allow a plausible cure to be funded and promoted properly? Just asking... if this is for real, then I wonder why it's not bigger news.

    http://www.baldwincountynow.com/articles/2009/05/28/local_news/doc4a1d63cb68531598814432.txt
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    Jun 29, 2009 10:14 AM GMT
    The HIV infected patient had 4 years of HAART and no AIDS defining illnesses. He received a stem cell transplant to treat acute myelogenous leukemia. The donor was homozygous for CCR5 delta32 mutation. The mutation is found 1 percent to 3 percent of white populations of European descent. People who inherit one copy of CCR5 delta32 (heterozygous) take longer to get sick or develop AIDS if infected with HIV. People with two copies( homozygous,one from each parent) may not become infected at all

    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.



    http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/02/11/health.hiv.stemcell/index.html
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Jun 29, 2009 12:56 PM GMT
    Even if a stem cell transplant is too risky, this is pretty extraordinary news.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Jun 29, 2009 3:43 PM GMT
    It was definitely reported at the time, but the overall reaction has been very muted because it's very unlikely that this will ever be a treatment for a significant number of individuals.

    Mechanistically, CCR-5 is a gene that produces a protein expressed at the surface of certain types of immune cells. HIV uses this protein preferentially to enter a cell in the first place. A very small percentage of people (concentrated primarily in Scandanavia) have the delta-32 mutation in the CCR-5 gene, whereby a set of 32 nucleotides are missing from their sequence, and the protein becomes non-functional. Such individuals have lowered T-cell responses to many infections, but also have some resistance to infections which specifically utilize the CCR5 protein: HIV, small pox, and the bubonic plague (the bacteria Yersinia pestis). If this allele is homozygous--meaning that both of an individual's copies are the same, and in this case that they're the delta-32 variant--an individual is strongly protected from many HIV strains. Even at its highest concentration, though, the allele is about 20% frequency in some Scandinavian populations, which means a frequency of homozygotes of about 4%. If the allele frequency drops to 10%, which is still higher than it is in most of Europe, homozygotes drop to 1%. It's a very rare variant. Combine that with the rarity of being a good bone marrow match, and even if the transplant wasn't high risk there would be only a small number of individuals who would even have a potential match.

    The protection given by being homozygous for delta-32 is also not absolute. In most patients with the virus, the initial strains circulating in their body predominantly use CCR5, and in roughly half of all patients this is the only entry route every observed. However, in the other half of patients later strains also use CRCX4, a different cell-surface protein. The delta-32 allele provides no protection from these strains.

    Bottom line, relatively little reporting about this case is not a conspiracy of the drug companies to suppress knowledge of a cure. If anything, it's an amazing display of responsibility by reporters not raising false hopes that it will soon lead to a wide spread cure.
  • Delivis

    Posts: 2332

    Jun 29, 2009 5:10 PM GMT
    Well done MSU. I hate grand conspiracy theories, so silly...icon_smile.gif The science behind it is indeed fascinating.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 29, 2009 6:56 PM GMT
    MSUBioNerd saidIt was definitely reported at the time, but the overall reaction has been very muted because it's very unlikely that this will ever be a treatment for a significant number of individuals.

    Mechanistically, CCR-5 is a gene that produces a protein expressed at the surface of certain types of immune cells. HIV uses this protein preferentially to enter a cell in the first place. A very small percentage of people (concentrated primarily in Scandanavia) have the delta-32 mutation in the CCR-5 gene, whereby a set of 32 nucleotides are missing from their sequence, and the protein becomes non-functional. Such individuals have lowered T-cell responses to many infections, but also have some resistance to infections which specifically utilize the CCR5 protein: HIV, small pox, and the bubonic plague (the bacteria Yersinia pestis). If this allele is homozygous--meaning that both of an individual's copies are the same, and in this case that they're the delta-32 variant--an individual is strongly protected from many HIV strains. Even at its highest concentration, though, the allele is about 20% frequency in some Scandinavian populations, which means a frequency of homozygotes of about 4%. If the allele frequency drops to 10%, which is still higher than it is in most of Europe, homozygotes drop to 1%. It's a very rare variant. Combine that with the rarity of being a good bone marrow match, and even if the transplant wasn't high risk there would be only a small number of individuals who would even have a potential match.

    The protection given by being homozygous for delta-32 is also not absolute. In most patients with the virus, the initial strains circulating in their body predominantly use CCR5, and in roughly half of all patients this is the only entry route every observed. However, in the other half of patients later strains also use CRCX4, a different cell-surface protein. The delta-32 allele provides no protection from these strains.

    Bottom line, relatively little reporting about this case is not a conspiracy of the drug companies to suppress knowledge of a cure. If anything, it's an amazing display of responsibility by reporters not raising false hopes that it will soon lead to a wide spread cure.


    Marry me icon_eek.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 29, 2009 7:27 PM GMT
    MSUBioNerd saidIt was definitely reported at the time, but the overall reaction has been very muted because it's very unlikely that this will ever be a treatment for a significant number of individuals.

    Mechanistically, CCR-5 is a gene that produces a protein expressed at the surface of certain types of immune cells. HIV uses this protein preferentially to enter a cell in the first place. A very small percentage of people (concentrated primarily in Scandanavia) have the delta-32 mutation in the CCR-5 gene, whereby a set of 32 nucleotides are missing from their sequence, and the protein becomes non-functional. Such individuals have lowered T-cell responses to many infections, but also have some resistance to infections which specifically utilize the CCR5 protein: HIV, small pox, and the bubonic plague (the bacteria Yersinia pestis). If this allele is homozygous--meaning that both of an individual's copies are the same, and in this case that they're the delta-32 variant--an individual is strongly protected from many HIV strains. Even at its highest concentration, though, the allele is about 20% frequency in some Scandinavian populations, which means a frequency of homozygotes of about 4%. If the allele frequency drops to 10%, which is still higher than it is in most of Europe, homozygotes drop to 1%. It's a very rare variant. Combine that with the rarity of being a good bone marrow match, and even if the transplant wasn't high risk there would be only a small number of individuals who would even have a potential match.

    The protection given by being homozygous for delta-32 is also not absolute. In most patients with the virus, the initial strains circulating in their body predominantly use CCR5, and in roughly half of all patients this is the only entry route every observed. However, in the other half of patients later strains also use CRCX4, a different cell-surface protein. The delta-32 allele provides no protection from these strains.

    Bottom line, relatively little reporting about this case is not a conspiracy of the drug companies to suppress knowledge of a cure. If anything, it's an amazing display of responsibility by reporters not raising false hopes that it will soon lead to a wide spread cure.


    It's fascinating how science continues to discover all the various pathways for so many things.

    It's exciting that more research is being done again (one of Obama's first actions) on stem cells, beta cells, and the like, which have much promise.

    The roommate has type 1 diabetes, and I'm happy as punch that Obama has removed much of the hindrance of false belief systems and Bush folks. I'm hoping they find a cure for type 1 diabetes soon.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 29, 2009 11:47 PM GMT
    Very interesting! Thanks MSU. I knew I could count on some Real Jocks for an informative response. :-)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 29, 2009 11:48 PM GMT
    We have to be careful that we don't become intolerant of bad, careless, and stupid behavior.

    HIV / AIDS is more survivable than before, but, that doesn't give one license to be an idiot.
  • santz7

    Posts: 47

    Aug 04, 2009 9:37 AM GMT
    kneedraggen saidThe HIV infected patient had 4 years of HAART and no AIDS defining illnesses. He received a stem cell transplant to treat acute myelogenous leukemia. The donor was homozygous for CCR5 delta32 mutation. The mutation is found 1 percent to 3 percent of white populations of European descent. People who inherit one copy of CCR5 delta32 (heterozygous) take longer to get sick or develop AIDS if infected with HIV. People with two copies( homozygous,one from each parent) may not become infected at all

    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.



    http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/02/11/health.hiv.stemcell/index.html

    I've seen such cure before... however, I don't think is the way the path that the doctor would like to take... bone marrow trasplants are very dificult and dangers and cosltly... in this case, even more dificult, because a doble match will need to be found... a donor with ccr5 and also has to match the bone marrow of the patiente... what are the chances???.
    But you right... still a breakthroug... one that could lead to alternative options and shoud have been publicited more....icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 05, 2009 3:28 PM GMT
    I remember reading about the cure when it was first reported. I dont remember it being too muted. What I do remember hearing is that the likeliness of this working on everyone with HIV is not guaranteed. As people have stated, it is hard to find donors with traits for this gene. Even if you have a donor who has this gene, bone marrow transplants are highly dangerous. I remember the article stating that the survival rates for such transplants are still not extremely high.

    So you have a double whammy on why this cure hasnt been pervasive 1. the lack of donors with the correct gene 2. the dangerous nature of bone marrow transplant surgery.