Publicado: Jue, Marcha 07, 2019
Salud | Por Gertrudes Rodriquez

Treating lymphoma with HIV-resistant stem cells "cures" another patient

Treating lymphoma with HIV-resistant stem cells

A transplant of bone marrow stem cells from a donor with that specific mutation has seemingly cured the man, known only as the "London patient," of his HIV infection.

"The question is, is it in remission, which means that we've been able to stop the virus from reproducing itself temporarily, or is it truly cured, in which case it won't ever come back?" says Dr. Rosenthal.

Combined with past cases (one successful and one failed), we can now say something about what needs to be done to get rid of the virus. Unlike Brown, though, the London patient did not have to go through a horrific, near-death experience to reap the benefits of the therapy.

His case was published in Nature journal yesterday, and simultaneously announced by University College London researchers at the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle.

"We can't detect anything", said Ravindra Gupta, a biologist who worked with the team of doctors treating the London patient, adding that the patient has been "functionally cured". Certain HIV antibodies and proteins declined in the blood of both men, she points out, which might offer a helpful early indicator of whether a cure strategy is working prior to stopping ARVs.

They say this procedure could be useful now for those rare people with HIV who have also been diagnosed with cancer and in need of a stem-cell transplant to reconstitute their immune systems. He was diagnosed with HIV in 2003.

Around 37 million people worldwide are believed to be living with HIV, which could potentially develop into the life-threatening acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

His doctors found a donor with a gene mutation that confers natural resistance to HIV.

Dr. Gero Hütter, who treated the Berlin patient and is now medical director at Cellex Collection Center in Dresden, Germany, said in an email that the treatment used for the London patient is "comparable" to the one he pioneered.

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"Two factors are likely at play - the new bone marrow is resistant to HIV and also the new bone marrow is actively eliminating any HIV-infected cells through something called graft versus host disease". "I don't think doing wide-scale bone marrow transplantation is on anyone's radar as a future option".

Donald Trump tweeted after doctors reported that a second man had been "cured" of HIV through stem cell therapy.

The unidentified man now joins Timothy Ray Brown, also known as The Berlin Patient, the only other person to be cured of HIV.

And the remission was achieved with a less toxic regimen than Brown, the Berlin patient, received, the researchers said. But HIV drugs have become so effective that many people carrying this infection have a normal lifespan if they take these medications for a lifetime.

"This is not a treatment appropriate for people with HIV who do not have cancer", the Treatment Action Group said in a statement.

Stem cell transplants are an established treatment for the cancer.

The case report, led by researchers at UCL and Imperial College London, comes around a decade after the first known case in Berlin.

In their latest small study, presented at CROI, Tebas's team showed that in 15 patients who received this therapy and then stopped ARVs, HIV did rebound, but a few weeks slower than it does in people without such transplants.

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