A first: Stem cell therapy cures HIV patient in Germany

Posted: October 31, 2012 at 10:49 pm

By Philip C. Tubeza Philippine Daily Inquirer

Stem cell therapy might provide a remedy for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) after it was used on an HIV patient in Germany, the first person known to have been cured of the disease, a Department of Health (DOH) official said Tuesday.

Dr. Gerald Belimac, program manager of the DOH National AIDS/Sexually Transmitted Infection Prevention and Control Program, said American Timothy R. Brown, the so-called Berlin Patient who had been infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, was cured after getting stem cells in 2007 from a donor who was genetically resistant to the virus that caused AIDS.

However, he said that this procedure was very complex and was still under study.

It takes the right person, the right recipient, the right donor, for a stem cell transplantation particularly on HIV to be successful, Belimac said.

If it comes from other donors, there is really a high chance that the recipient would reject it, she added.

Brown was infected with HIV in 1995 and was later diagnosed with leukemia, or cancer of the blood.

He underwent a transplant of stem cells for the leukemia and it turned out that those stem cells had genes that were resistant to HIV, Belimac said.

Medical research has shown that almost 5 percent of Caucasians are genetically resistant to HIV, he said, but there are still no studies showing Filipinos having similar genes.

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A first: Stem cell therapy cures HIV patient in Germany

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