Two Boston men have allegedly been cured of HIV through bone marrow transplants, according to reports from the annual international AIDS conference.
"The two men who were being treated at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston for cases of cancer at different times. One of the men is in his 20s and was infected at birth, while the other man is in his 50s, and has been infected with HIV since the early 1980s. After each receiving bone marrow transplants, the men also remained on their antiretroviral medication regimens, according to NBC News.
Within eight months of their respective transplant surgeries, it was discovered that the patients' cells were replaced by cells from the HIV-negative bone marrow donors. The men also now show no signs of HIV in their DNA or RNA. Levels of HIV antibodies have also decreased.
"We expected HIV to vanish from the patients' plasma, but it is surprising that we can't find any traces of HIV in their cells", said Timothy Henrich, MD, who presented the finding with colleague Daniel Kuritzkes. "The next step is to determine if there are any traces of HIV in their tissue."
Kuritzkes added that the discovery suggests that "under the cover of anti-retroviral therapy, the cells that repopulated the patient's immune system appear to be protected from becoming re-infected with HIV."
Researchers are currently preparing to study other HIV-positive men who have undergone bone marrow transplants. Tim Brown (pictured above) made headlines when he underwent a similar treatment that has seems to have gotten rid of the HIV in his body. Obviously if this is the real deal, it is great news.