HIV virus returns after cure hope rose


I am mentioning this disappointing failure of an experimental treatment as a followup to a discussion thread, this past July, which stated that Adult stem cells may cure HIV. Sadly, the virus has returned in both of the patients and they have resumed taking medication to control it.

Here is a summary on the failed treatment:
*The two patients in the Boston study had battled HIV for years. They agreed to stop taking their HIV medications earlier this year to test whether the medicine was holding the infections in check, or whether it was the transplant of healthy donor bone marrow cells each received that was vanquishing signs of the virus in their bodies. Both had received the transplants after chemotherapy and other treatments had failed to stop their Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the blood.

For weeks, Henrich’s team carefully tested the patients’ blood, searching for signs of HIV. In July, with one patient off the HIV medications for seven weeks, and the other patient off for 15, the scientists reported their early, encouraging results: They could find no trace of the virus in their blood cells.

But in August, the scientists detected HIV in one of the patients, who then resumed taking medication. The other remained seemingly HIV-free. Concerned about the ethics of continuing the study, the scientists gave the patient the choice of going back on the drugs. The patient opted to stay off the medicine.

Last month, after eight months with no HIV detected, signs of the virus reemerged and the patient went back on medication, too.*


There is still hope for a cure. These experimental treatments came, I believe several years, after it was discovered that HIV had been (accidentally) cured in German patients following bone marrow transplants. The difference is that the donors in the German cases possessed a CCR5 mutation (carried by roughly 10% of the European population) which renders the person completely immune to HIV.


There has been some good news recently, though. Scientist have found a link between HIV and FIV, an immunodeficiency disease in cats that is very similar. It is raising hopes for an HIV vaccine:


Now that is very interesting! Apparently Dr. Yamamoto has refined her research even further, and has isolated individual FIV peptides (as opposed to a whole protein) which are cross-reactive with HIV. . At least one of these peptides trigger T-cells to kill HIV. This peptide, or others, may hold the key to developing a T-cell based vaccine, a type of vaccine which currently doesn’t exist for any virus.

However, reaching a vaccine for HIV will take years of research.

[quote=Medical News Today]…Prof. Yamamoto says that not all HIV peptides are able to work as vaccine components. Some enhance HIV infection or have no effect, while others have anti-HIV activities that become lost if the virus changes or mutates to avoid immunity.

"[We need to] test these regions as vaccine components in cats against FIV, and monkeys against SIV, before phase-I clinical trials in humans. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requires testing in two animal species before testing in humans.

Phase I trials involve only a few test subjects. They evaluate safety and side effects.
Phase II trials are much larger, and test for effectiveness.
Phase III trials are a double-check on safety and effectiveness.

All three phases are necessary before the FDA will approve any vaccine for human. So, a vaccine is not around the corner. Still, the research is an exciting, and intriguing, development.


All of the following is quoted from the Centers for Disease Control. “MSM” means men who have sex with men:
Estimated New HIV Infections by Route of Transmission, 2010

Gay and Bisexual Men

“Men who have sex with men (MSM) remain the group most heavily affected by HIV in the United States. CDC estimates that MSM represent approximately 4 percent of the male population in the United States 5 but male-to-male sex accounted for more than three-fourths (78 percent) of new HIV infections among men and nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of all new infections in 2010 (29,800). White MSM continue to represent the largest number of new HIV infections among MSM (11,200), followed closely by black MSM (10,600) and Hispanic MSM (6,700).” - CDC

Young MSM
**Estimated Number of New HIV Infections among MSM aged 13-24, 2008-2010 **

“The number of new infections among the youngest MSM (aged 13-24) increased 22 percent, from 7,200 infections in 2008 to 8,800 in 2010. Young black MSM continue to bear the heaviest burden, accounting for more than half (55 percent) of new infections among young MSM (4,800). In fact, young black MSM now account for more new infections than any other subgroup by race/ethnicity, age, and sex. There was a 12 percent increase in HIV incidence among MSM overall, from 26,700 in 2008 to 29,800 in 2010.” - CDC



This is really sad. However, I do think there is still hope in this particular field of treatment for HIV. I hope and pray that they come up with a cure really soon. I really feel bad for everyone who has this horrible condition.


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