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HIV Cure

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flip_flop | 13:02 Wed 25th Jul 2012 | News
5 Answers
I don't pretend to understand the science involved, but is the treatment the chap in the link went through a viable cure on a mass basis?


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I would say, no. Bone marrow has to be matched and there are 1,000's on the waiting list already.
"The bone marrow transplant he received carried significant risks and may be fatal to one in five patients who undergo it."
I'd say that's a bit of a no-no.
I am facinated by the expression //an HIV-resistant donor//

Where do you get one of those then?
Not a common find ;)

Theory goes that the commonest strains of HIV make use of CCR5 which is a chemokine receptor on immune response cells, especially T-cells. Those patients who are homozygous for this recessive allele have demonstrated a resistance to HIV.

This is because it is thought that HIV uses the CCR chemokine receptor as a point of entry to the T-cell lymphocytes. Those with the recessive allele dont have this entrypoint.

Since the ccr5 chemokine receptor is an important sensory aid in the T-cells ability to fight infections, it is likely that these rare individuals ( less than 10% of the population) would have a somewhat diminished immune response to more conventional viral/ bacterial challenges.

Bone Marrow Transplantation is a very high risk procedure, leaving the recipient open to all sorts of life threatening complications. Even were CCR5 delta 32 ( the particular mutation that appears to code for HIV resistance) more readily available through, say, lab based cloning, the process of bone marrow transplantation itself would be the limiting factor.

A more favourable approach as a long term preventative medication would be to develop drugs that interfere with the CCR5 receptor pathway.

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