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.*