Monday, January 19, 2009

Altered adult stem cells used to help treat AIDS

From the Guardian:
Results of a preliminary trial have raised hopes of a new form of therapy for people suffering from Aids, which occurs in the latter stages of infection with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The scientists are planning further research to establish whether the treatment could even rid patients of HIV infection altogether.

The technique involves isolating genes which curb the spread of HIV inside the body, introducing the genes into human stem cells in a laboratory, then transplanting the stem cells into a patient's bone marrow.

In the first human trial, anti-HIV stem cells were transplanted into five Aids patients undergoing bone marrow replacement as part of treatment for a form of cancer known as lymphoma.

Small quantities of the transplanted stem cells were able to grow and produce new white blood cells resistant to HIV, resulting in an improvement in the patients' conditions......

The doctors behind the research are currently reluctant to expose Aids patients who do not have lymphoma to the risky bone transplant operation, but they are refining the technique in the hope of providing anti-HIV stem cell transplants to all Aids sufferers.
So far this story has yet to make a lot of traction in the U.S. media outlets. We'll see if that trend continues.

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