Two men no longer have any detectable traces of HIV in their cells after receiving bone marrow transplants.
The two HIV-positive patients were treated at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Both had developed lymphoma, and had to undergo bone marrow transplants.
Eight months after their transplants, doctors couldn't find any HIV in either man's blood cells. The key, in these cases, was that the patients were able to stay on anti-retroviral drugs.
"Typically what happens when people get a bone marrow transplant is that they're so sick they have to stop their HIV medicines, and so the donor cells that they get immediately become inflected with the patient's virus," said Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. "In this case, the donor cells were actually protected against becoming HIV inflected because the patients were able to stay on their therapy."
Doctors aren't saying this is a cure, but it gives them a new target in future AIDS research.
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