For the second time they manage to cure a patient with AIDS. He underwent a bone marrow transplant, as he also had Hodgkin lymphoma and needed to survive. In passing, they transplanted the bone marrow of an hiv-resistant person, that is, with a D32 mutation that prevents the virus from entering CCR5 receptors. After the transplant, the researchers have not seen traces of virus: neither in the blood, nor in the deposits. And since the transplant was done, there has been no virus, even after stopping retroviral medications. Anyway, researchers from the ICISTEM working group have recognized that it is necessary to wait longer to ensure that it is prudent and fully cured.
Ten years ago they first managed to cure a patient with AIDS in Berlin. In it it was almost by chance. However, this new case confirms that it is possible thanks to increased expectations. The path has not been easy, it has been tested with 5-7 patients in the last ten years worldwide, but it has not gone well, since they are patients with high mortality rates: some have died from infections, others the virus has sought another alternative receptor to enter lymphocytes…
“What is clear is that transplantation cannot be a curative treatment of AIDS,” said researcher Jon Badiola and a member of the ICISTEM working team. “This procedure has a very high mortality rate and with current drugs we have already converted AIDS into a mere chronic disease.” The researcher considers that it only makes sense in patients with AIDS and that in turn they suffer from cancer and need a transplant.
Badiola investigates at the Virgen de las Nieves University Hospital in Granada, in order to clarify how this type of transplants cure AIDS. “We have to know exactly what has happened in these two patients: what mechanism the body has used to locate and kill these cells from deposits. In this way, if we understand and copy this mechanism, we can develop another cell therapy, a treatment with less toxicity. Valid for all patients with AIDS”.
Badiola and his companions also perform this type of transplants, but without D32 mutations. In fact, it has been proven that a simple bone marrow transplant significantly reduces this hidden deposit of virus. “If we control the replication of the virus with current medications, if we die of chemotherapy all the lymphocytes of the patient and do a spinal cord transplant, the lymphocytes are not reinfected. We must clarify the mechanism behind the transplant.”
Doctor Jon Badiola, with AIDS treatment.
Interview with the virologist Eva Poveda.