AIDS no more?

A doctor in Germany has successfully cured a single patient of both HIV and leukimia with one not-so-radical treatment, a bone marrow transplant. It is known that approximately 1 in every 1,000 persons of European descent have a genetic mutation that largely prevents the virus from attaching to cells and implanting its RNA.

A risky procedure under any stretch of the imagination, knowing that 30% of those who undergo bone marrow transplants die, but considering the alternative, a risk quite worth the reward. It has been two years since the transplant, and doctors have proclaimed him ‘functionally cured,’ that is, he has completely ceased taking antiretrovirals and has no sign of the disease in any bodily tissues.

The chances of finding a bone marrow match who has inherited the genetic resistence from both of his parents is slim for most of those afflicted with AIDS – persons in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, and the chances of convincing a doctor to perform the dangerous and ethicly gray operation still slimmer, but this discovery does open new doors to potential genetic cures for deadly diseases like HIV.