German doc miraculously cures AIDS patient

November 13th, 2008 - 4:29 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 13 (IANS) A doctor in Germany seems to have pulled off the impossible by curing a 42-year-old AIDS patient with the help of bone marrow transplant, normally used in leukemia.The feat has spurred hopes that the therapy could combat the deleterious condition that claims two million lives worldwide every year.

The patient who is an American and resides in Berlin, did not wish to be identified. He underwent a transplant of genetically selected bone marrow, nearly two years ago, after a decade of infection, said his doctor Gero Huetter, a hematologist.

Huetter had chosen a donor with a rare genetic mutation that practically protects people from HIV.

Since then the patient, who had been undergoing treatment at Berlin’s Charite Hospital for both AIDS and leukaemia, has been declared free of symptoms.

Significantly bone marrow transplantation is risky. It is administered to cancer patients only as the last resort after the failure of every other treatment and it kills a third of such patients.

However, an AP report quoted Andrew Badley, director of HIV and immunology research lab, Mayo Clinic, as having said that too much should not be made out of a single case. More such samples would be required to say that the virus is gone.

Anthony Fauci, director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, US warned that the therapy was way too expensive and dangerous to use as primary cure.

David Baltimore, who won the Nobel Prize for work on tumour viruses, described the example as “a very good sign” and a virtual “proof of principle” for gene-therapy approaches, said an online report.

He has started a company to use gene therapy to target HIV.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Sci-Tech |