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carnage11
12-26-2010, 08:00 PM
On the heels of World AIDS Day comes a stunning medical breakthrough: Doctors believe an HIV-positive man who underwent a stem cell transplant has been cured as a result of the procedure.

Timothy Ray Brown, also known as the "Berlin Patient," received the transplant in 2007 as part of a lengthy treatment course for leukemia. His doctors recently published a report in the journal Blood affirming that the results of extensive testing "strongly suggest that cure of HIV infection has been achieved."


Link (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/14/hiv-cure-berlin-patient_n_796521.html)


......

DoctorFinger
12-26-2010, 08:08 PM
It's a "cure" that necessitated the complete destruction of the man's existing immune system. Which is kind of like dealing with the rat problem by bring in king cobras. Or treating an arthritic knee by amputating the whole leg. It's not a cure. It's a team in Germany trying to gin up grants for their project by making a very media friendly story about "curing" AIDS.

carnage11
12-26-2010, 08:21 PM
Doesn't AIDs already destroy your immune system? I mean did he really have any other options? Also, I found it ironic that he was actually being treated for leukemia.


edit: Another thought....you have to wonder if we ever do cure AIDs, what will the result be? Some other nasty virus that's even worse. Some new form of Super AIDs.

Hawkzombie
12-26-2010, 08:25 PM
Well, AIDs doesn't kill. It's the infections you get after and during that do, since you have no immune system. To me this reads more of 'we accelerated AIDs'

This is pretty much the Super AIDs then :p

Hotcod
12-26-2010, 08:32 PM
It's a "cure" that necessitated the complete destruction of the man's existing immune system. Which is kind of like dealing with the rat problem by bring in king cobras. Or treating an arthritic knee by amputating the whole leg. It's not a cure. It's a team in Germany trying to gin up grants for their project by making a very media friendly story about "curing" AIDS.

I don't understand this too well but lot of treatments rely on at lest heavily suppressing the immune system don't they? I mean I think that the reason why they where using stem cells in this case rather than a bone marrow transplant. With transplants you have to dampen the immune response to make sure it's not rejected and doing that to some one who has aids would be a death sentence wouldn't it?

In other words this may have cured the may of his aids and they have a right to say that. In it's self it's an idiotic thing to do to some one who does not have both leukaemia and aids but if they can work out what happened and why and they are able to do the same thing in a different form of treatment? well it's an very interesting step.

If it turns out you have to nuke the immune system and replace it by stem cells, well, ask your self if you had aids if you'd be willing to try that at some point since the first part of it will happen to you at some point anyway.

Gwinny
12-26-2010, 08:35 PM
Yeah, it's amazing that this was done (saw an article about it a few days ago)! I appreciate the science and medicine involved. These are really early days, I tell myself. We're seeing stem cell research dovetailing with fights in other branches of biology and disease treatment. The future, if we don't blow ourselves up, is going to be amazing. They did cure this man of AIDS.

Getting practical, we're nowhere near a cure for AIDS in any game-changing sense. What they did to this fellow was not something that's going to be of much help to those in nations without considerable wealth/medical infrastructure. It's not even practical for first-world nations to treat a significant portion of their own citizens. But ... early days. To science, and to the future!

Hotcod
12-26-2010, 08:40 PM
Stem cells, it's starting to surprise me more when they find stuff they don't think they may some day help/cure/fix :)

TheEpicOfTyler
12-26-2010, 08:40 PM
My understanding of this tells me this is not a cure that would work for most people. Not even a small amount of people. Bone marrow transplants are not something to take on lightly, and are dangerous for the person donating and the person receiving. It's painful and it's expensive and it's not guaranteed to work.

Also, you have to take in account that this person really just received a transplant from a person who is HIV resistant. There is not a large population of HIV resistant people on the planet.

There is still quite a ways to go before saying that AIDS has a cure.

bstiff
12-26-2010, 08:48 PM
It's a "cure" that necessitated the complete destruction of the man's existing immune system. Which is kind of like dealing with the rat problem by bring in king cobras. Or treating an arthritic knee by amputating the whole leg. It's not a cure. It's a team in Germany trying to gin up grants for their project by making a very media friendly story about "curing" AIDS.

yeah it's a pretty bold statement and not really proven from what I read of the original article. HIV can hang out in other types of cells/tissues than just cd4 cells which really can't be eliminated with a stem cell transplant. Bascially they say they did a stem cell transplant for leukemia, the guys cd4 count improved and he has no detectable virus. These days you can accomplish the same thing with the newer combination antivirals without the risks of graft vs host and chronic immunosupressants.

Kelegacy
12-26-2010, 09:26 PM
It's a lot like chemo, where they have to destroy you entirely to heal you back up. As a last resort, yes. But you have to be strong enough to endure it, and if you don't well...your quality of life was wasted for those last years.

I'm just surprised how long some people are living with HIV these days. The quote something along the lines of HIV doesn't kill you, the bankruptcy does makes more sense. You wind up running out of money to treat yourself, or your insurance company does something evil and you're fucked. It's very very expensive to stay current with your meds as an HIV patient.

Panthera
12-26-2010, 09:57 PM
This is significant because it is simply the first time that a man has been cured of an HIV infection. That is all.

nnanji
12-26-2010, 10:10 PM
This is cool, but not as cool as the finding that taking Truvada can prevent contracting HIV in the first place.

Mike Kelehan
12-26-2010, 11:07 PM
This is cool, but not as cool as the finding that taking Truvada can prevent contracting HIV in the first place.

I've been taking Trojan. Does Truvada work better than that?

diablopath
12-26-2010, 11:18 PM
I wonder how the internet would have reacted if it had been around during other great scientific achievements.

"The moon? Pfft. Tell me when we walk on the sun."

nnanji
12-26-2010, 11:18 PM
I've been taking Trojan. Does Truvada work better than that?

That's good! Keep it up ;)

Seriously, nothing is perfect so it is very good to know that the drug regimen in combination with condom use could lower your risk of exposure by up to 90%.

Elrik Murder
12-26-2010, 11:22 PM
This was a bit of a hot topic where I work. Not hot, but really buzz-worthy I guess. Anyway, our boss was interviewed based on the findings. It's worth reading.

Link here (http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/12/14/hiv.infection.cure/index.html?hpt=Sbin).

Stoke
12-26-2010, 11:27 PM
This is as much a cure for aids as when they "cured" aids with a bone marrow transplant (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122602394113507555.html) intending to treat a guy's leukemia 2 years ago. It's not viable for everyone.

nnanji
12-26-2010, 11:34 PM
This is as much a cure for aids as when they "cured" aids with a bone marrow transplant (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122602394113507555.html) intending to treat a guy's leukemia 2 years ago. It's not viable for everyone.

I think this is the same case.

Shrinn
12-26-2010, 11:44 PM
I wonder how the internet would have reacted if it had been around during other great scientific achievements.

"The moon? Pfft. Tell me when we walk on the sun."

I was thinking the same thing!

Savok
12-26-2010, 11:44 PM
Stoke it's the same story. Just now we're almost 4 years on and still no HIV virus.

I wonder how the internet would have reacted if it had been around during other great scientific achievements.

"The moon? Pfft. Tell me when we walk on the sun."
Drives me fucking crazy.

Sad thing is, show these people a new iPhone and they'll wet themselves.

TheEpicOfTyler
12-26-2010, 11:48 PM
I wonder how the internet would have reacted if it had been around during other great scientific achievements.

"The moon? Pfft. Tell me when we walk on the sun."

Tempered expectations and skepticism does not equal cynicism or elitism. This is great for this guy, but it's not helpful for 99% of people with AIDS/HIV.

It's great for him, but AIDS isn't cured yet.

diablopath
12-27-2010, 12:03 AM
Tempered expectations and skepticism does not equal cynicism or elitism. This is great for this guy, but it's not helpful for 99% of people with AIDS/HIV.

It's great for him, but AIDS isn't cured yet.

Right. But it's a massive step in the right direction. It's progress. That's why I find this exciting.

zarathstra
12-27-2010, 12:34 AM
Bone marrow transplants are incredibly trying ordeals, but as a method of last resort... and the donation process isn't nearly as painful as popular media would have you believe. I think they play up that aspect to make the person donating seem even more heroic.

J Arcane
12-27-2010, 01:10 AM
It's a "cure" that necessitated the complete destruction of the man's existing immune system. Which is kind of like dealing with the rat problem by bring in king cobras. Or treating an arthritic knee by amputating the whole leg. It's not a cure. It's a team in Germany trying to gin up grants for their project by making a very media friendly story about "curing" AIDS.
You can kill rats by other means than unleashing snakes on them.

Last I checked, there is no cure for AIDS whatsoever, difficult/painful/expensive or not.

Darkmatter
12-27-2010, 03:04 AM
Didn't they "causiously" call a man "cured" of AIDS a number of years ago when they found that a group of experimental anti-virals managed to wipe the virus from someones system? They weren't able to find any trace of the virus. I don't know what ever happend to that person. I think they ended up calling the persons infection "controlled." What I never found out was if the person was still able to infect others or if the virus came back if he stopped taking the drugs (I assume yes).

OUX
12-27-2010, 03:07 AM
This thread made me think of the South Park episode when Cartman got AIDS. It is a terrible disease. Even if the treatment is extreme but works, it is still better than having AIDS. Your immunity system comes back slowly after cancer treatment, you can boy-in-a-bubble for 6 months for that.

Are you seriously telling me that if you had AIDS and someone said, "We need to do a bone marrow transplant, with intensive treatment for a year or two after," you'd say "No, having AIDS is better?" I am not trying to be super snarky, I just really never expected anything but "Awesome, medical science progresses."

Ox
12-27-2010, 06:57 AM
Are you seriously telling me that if you had AIDS and someone said, "We need to do a bone marrow transplant, with intensive treatment for a year or two after," you'd say "No, having AIDS is better?"
For one, that isn't the situation: we aren't able to get the stem cells to make this a mass treatment in any event. If we were able to do that, it's still highly debatable whether this would be a good solution for most people. It's a choice between taking anti-retrovirals for the rest of your life to prevent your immune system from shutting down, or taking anti-rejection drugs for the rest of your life to prevent your immune system from working (and rejecting the transplant). Even assuming you suffer no complications during the transplant process and recovery, why do you assume anti-rejection drugs are better than anti-retrovirals?

I haven't been able to find long-term prognoses for bone-marrow transplants, but it's worth noting that other transplants (e.g., heart transplants) rarely last for more than 10 years. Anti-rejection treatments aren't all that effective; eventually, your body figures out what's going on and destroys the foreign tissue. Also, half (http://www.dukehealth.org/health_library/advice_from_doctors/your_childs_health/bonemarrowtransplants) of people who get bone marrow transplants die. It's really not a good idea if HIV is your only problem.

EDIT:
http://i1021.photobucket.com/albums/af337/oxonian/all_survival_adult_a.jpg

Note how the line trends downward pretty significantly even after the first two years. About 20% of those who make it through the initial danger die in the four years after that. That's a heck of a lot worse than anti-retrovirals. Heck, it's worse than untreated HIV, which doesn't kill that quickly.

bstiff
12-27-2010, 07:04 AM
Show me who's going to foot the bill for 33 million stem cell transplants and I may get excited.

Vyzov
12-27-2010, 07:08 AM
It pretty much comes down to "This man was cured of AIDS. There is still no cure for AIDS."

And the way this was done would be like saying "We can make it so you can survive a car accident but we'll have to throw you off the top of a 6 story building first." Not really worth it as a cure.

JayVe
12-27-2010, 07:57 AM
Sad thing is, show these people a new iPhone and they'll wet themselves.

Retina Display! :eek:

Savok
12-27-2010, 08:43 AM
Oh for god sake of course it's an unsustainable treatment for everyone, it's the fact it happened at all that's important.

carnage11
12-27-2010, 12:37 PM
Man goes to a doctor. The doctor says, "Well, I got bad news and worse news. The bad news is, you only have 24 hours left to live." "Damn, what's the worse news doc?" the man says. "Well, shit. The worse news is, I forgot to call you yesterday."

MagGnome
12-27-2010, 01:40 PM
This is interesting news, but count me in the "let's not get too excited just yet" camp. Two of my family members (paternal grandfather and sister) have had three transplants (all liver), so I know how serious those operations are. I also know several people who are HIV positive, so I know how serious that disease is as well.

As Ox said, by getting a transplant you are basically trading one set of problems for another. Thankfully my sister is still alive 13 years after her second transplant, but not everyone is so lucky. She will be on anti-rejection medication for the rest of her life.

Edit - Krispy that is one of the most offensive things I've ever seen on this site. Disgusting.

astranoir
12-27-2010, 01:57 PM
We've been curing HIV for years.



Wow, wtf, dude?

OUX
12-27-2010, 05:19 PM
Well thought out argument.

I realize it isn't the situation. I was responding to the idea that if a cure was difficult it wasn't worth it. Presumably as medical science improves all of those numbers will rise drastically and in 200 years they will mock how our petty transplants worked out. However, medical science improves with steps like this one. I am just concerned about the negativity.

bstiff
12-27-2010, 09:25 PM
I realize it isn't the situation. I was responding to the idea that if a cure was difficult it wasn't worth it. Presumably as medical science improves all of those numbers will rise drastically and in 200 years they will mock how our petty transplants worked out. However, medical science improves with steps like this one. I am just concerned about the negativity.

It's not negativity, its skepticism. With the issues peer review and fabricating, providing faulty data over the last couple of years, I think any major break through has to be taken with a grain of salt. Haven't there been 2 or 3 other claims of HIV "cures" that were later debunked after being reviewed? After reading the paper, my issue with the media is that they confuse undetectable hiv with nonexistent hiv and those are two different things. There are plenty of people with HIV on meds who have a normal cd4 count and undetectable viral loads. I don't think anyone in their right mind would call them cured.

Savok
12-27-2010, 11:29 PM
I think the point here is this guy hasn't been on his HIV meds for 3-4 years and the illness still hasn't shown itself.

zarathstra
12-27-2010, 11:37 PM
For one, that isn't the situation: we aren't able to get the stem cells to make this a mass treatment in any event. If we were able to do that, it's still highly debatable whether this would be a good solution for most people. It's a choice between taking anti-retrovirals for the rest of your life to prevent your immune system from shutting down, or taking anti-rejection drugs for the rest of your life to prevent your immune system from working (and rejecting the transplant). Even assuming you suffer no complications during the transplant process and recovery, why do you assume anti-rejection drugs are better than anti-retrovirals?
.


Ox, its been a long time, but I don't recall the doctors telling us that my brother would have had to take anti-rejection drugs after he finished with the bone marrow transplant. The problem with other types of transplant is that your immune system does not recognize the new organ as being part of you, and attacks it. With a bone marrow transplant, you're essentially swapping your old immune system for a new one. Your body doesn't reject it because its the basis for what would normally be doing the rejecting.

Don't take that as gospel though, as I said, its been quite a few years since I've had to deal with this.

TheFlyingOrc
12-28-2010, 01:41 AM
Edit - Krispy that is one of the most offensive things I've ever seen on this site. Disgusting.

Well now I'm curious.

Vanthar
12-28-2010, 02:41 AM
Ox, its been a long time, but I don't recall the doctors telling us that my brother would have had to take anti-rejection drugs after he finished with the bone marrow transplant. The problem with other types of transplant is that your immune system does not recognize the new organ as being part of you, and attacks it. With a bone marrow transplant, you're essentially swapping your old immune system for a new one. Your body doesn't reject it because its the basis for what would normally be doing the rejecting.

Don't take that as gospel though, as I said, its been quite a few years since I've had to deal with this.

Indeed, the problem is not your body attacking the bone marrow. The problem is your new immune system attacking your body. Here's a Wikipedia link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graft-versus-host_disease) for your entertainment.

Ultima Thulian
12-28-2010, 12:33 PM
Stoke it's the same story. Just now we're almost 4 years on and still no HIV virus.


Drives me fucking crazy.

Sad thing is, show these people a new iPhone and they'll wet themselves.

Indeed. This has stunning potential for the advancement of finding the cure of AIDS.

I wouldn't go so far as to say the cure is found or whatever, but at the same time one must acknowledge the potential for good such an event has, assuming the story is true.