Apparent HIV-1 'Cure' After Stem Cell Transplant
(HealthDay News) – Two HIV-1 infected men no longer have infected blood cells a year or more after a bone marrow transplant, according to a study presented at the International AIDS Conference, held from July 22–27 in Washington, DC.
Timothy J Henrich, MD, from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues investigated whether HIV-1 was present in two HIV-1-infected men with hematologic malignancies who had undergone a non-myeloablative/limited-intensity allogeneic stem cell transplant.
The researchers found that, after eight to 17 month, both patients had undetectable levels of HIV-1 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), despite having modest levels of total PBMC-associated HIV-1 DNA before and two-to-three months after stem cell transplantation. Both patients were heterozygous for the CCR5 Δ32 mutation before transplant (associated with resistance to HIV-1 infection). Two-to-eight months following transplant there was a transient reduction in lymphocyte CXCR4 expression. Both patients continued to receive antiretroviral therapy, and at the time of loss of HIV-1 reservoir detection, both developed graft-versus-host disease.
"We expected HIV to vanish from the patients' plasma, but it is surprising that we can't find any traces of HIV in their cells," Henrich said in a statement. "The next step is to determine if there are any traces of HIV in their tissue."