Bone Marrow Transplant ‘Cures HIV

by Calum Fraser

A Leukemia sufferer who was also HIV positive has been ‘cured’, after a transplant using AIDS resistant stem cells.

The patient, an American living in Berlin, underwent a bone marrow transplant in Germany as treatment to replace the immune system.

Dr. Gero Hutter and Thomas Schneider specifically looked for donor cells known to be resistant to the virus, present only in around 3 percent of Europeans and cured not only the Leukemia, but also the HIV.

HIV is, at present, always fatal, and while modern drugs surpress the virus, it never truly disappears, remaining in ‘resovoirs’. 

A statement from the Clinic for Gastroenterology, Infections and Rheumatology of the Berlin Charite hospital said:  “As of today, more than 20 months after the successful transplant, no HIV can be detected in the patient. We performed all tests, not only with blood but also with other reservoirs.”

However, Doctors stressed that this would not become a standard treatment for HIV due to the risks involved in the procedure. All the patients own bone marrow must be destroyed before the new cells are implanted.

Hutter warned that while ‘no trace’ of the virus can be found, it  may still reside in the 42 year old who has not been named.