AIDS therapy through bone marrow donation?

Hope for successful AIDS therapy dampened by bone marrow donation

In July headlines such as: Two patients HIV-free after therapy made the rounds. Two men in the United States had received bone marrow donation for cancer and appeared to be free of the HI virus for months afterwards. But now doctors explained that the pathogen was not defeated.

Bone marrow donation for cancer Two men infected with HIV were considered virus free for several months after receiving a bone marrow donation for cancer. Both patients had stopped taking AIDS medication for weeks and the virus was no longer detectable in either. One of the attending doctors, Timothy Henrich of the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, said at the time, "Although these results are exciting, they do not mean that the men are cured." To see what the therapy really is caused, you have to wait at least another year. The transplants for the two men who had lymphoma cancer were years ago, but the HIV medication had only been stopped a few weeks before the new results. A third patient who had also been treated died from the effects of his cancer.

Bad News Announced It didn't take a year to see what the therapy really did. A few days ago, Henrich had to announce bad news at a conference in Miami, Florida. As reported by the US media, the virus is detectable in both patients. One of the men had increased virus levels again in August. The other nevertheless decided to continue his medication until his viral load increased again in November, the "Boston Globe" reported.

Not all data analyzed yet The scientists decided to announce the results as early as possible before they analyzed all data. "We had the feeling that it was unfair not to let people know how things are - especially towards potential patients," Henrich told the Globe. The return of the virus indicates that there are reservoirs in the body that are difficult to track down. But even though the result is not what was hoped for, according to Henrich there are starting points for the treatment of HIV infections.

Berlin patient caused a worldwide sensation In 2008, a patient from Berlin caused a worldwide sensation. After a bone marrow transplant, the number of HI viruses had also dropped below the detection limit. The bone marrow donation was carried out as part of a blood cancer therapy. The doctor at the time, Gero Hütter, who now works at Heidelberg University, explained that bone marrow transplants are not a general treatment option for AIDS. Transplants are associated with too high a risk because the recipient's immune system is weakened in a targeted manner. For this reason, the doctors in Boston and Berlin only used the treatment in the case of very seriously ill cancer patients. (ad)

Image: Andreas Dengs, /

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Video: Marrow donors talk about donating and the donation process

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