Monday, December 20, 2010

Stem-Cell Cure for HIV?
The good news is, scientists believe they have the cure for HIV - and leukemia for that matter. The bad news is, it might kill you or make you sick, and will cost a ton. And since they have learned to keep people alive for quite some time with HIV medication, they're not going to be trying it in all but the most extreme cases.
In the study, published last week online in the journal Blood, researchers at Charite-University Medicine Berlin treated an HIV-infected man who also had acute myeloid leukemia -- a cancer of the immune system -- by wiping out his own immune system with high-dose chemotherapy and radiation and giving him a stem-cell transplant. Stem cells are immature cells that can mature into blood cells.

At the time of the transplant, which occurred in February 2007, he stopped taking anti-HIV medications.
So, you have to find the right donor match, have to be healthy enough to withstand the treatment, sick enough to need it, and rich enough to afford it. Still, sounds like amazing progress. I have mixed feelings about this risk calculation issue. Would you rather go through a risky treatment of hell with the possibility of coming out of it with a healthy immune system, or choose HIV drugs for life and hope they work, with minimal side-effects?

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