HIV Transplant Cure

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - 11:23am

Special bone marrow transplant may hold cure to HIV.

A man is cured, doctors are stunned and patients have new hope.

It could be the cure for HIV.

It worked on one man in Germany and now a San Francisco company is trying to do replicate the results in the United States.

"We have this patient in Berlin who develops leukemia, gets a bone marrow transplant from donor who has a genetic anomaly, he lacks CCR5 genes. It turns out CCR5 is the key doorway for HIV to get into the cell," explains Quest Research's Dr. Jacob Lalezari.

Now, four years later with no other treatment that patient is HIV free.

The goal now is to replicate what happened in Berlin.

Experts at Quest Research are removing CCR5 from patients genes, replicating them and then putting them back.

Dr. Lalezari says without CCR5 the virus can't infect new cells and it eventually goes away.

It's a development HIV patient Matt Sharp is counting on.

"I've exhausted all my possibilities for drug treatment," he says.

Three months into the gene therapy trial Sharp's numbers are improving.

"From the experiment so far my T-cells have doubled, my percentage numbers are up, everything is going in the right direction," he says.

Only time will tell if the new treatment can actually cure patients.

So far Quest Research is treating ten patients with the gene therapy and experts call their results encouraging.

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