Lymphoma Treatment Offers Hope for AIDS Patients

Results of a clinical trial out of the City of Hope Medical Centre in Duarte, California suggest that a new and effective therapy may be on the way for AIDS patients.

In the trial, five AIDS patients who were suffering from AIDS-related lymphoma (lymphomas are a frequent cause of death in AIDS patients) received a rather spiffy bone marrow transplant. Here’s how it worked:

Scientists first isolate the genes that curtail the spread of the HIV virus in the body. After introducing these genes into human donor stem cells in the lab, they transplant the whole package into the bone marrow. Those stem cells grow and make new white blood cells, ones that are HIV resistant.

It’s an example of stem-cell genetic modification, using specific genes to go after specific issues in the bone marrow.

Of course, bone marrow transplants are common in treating lymphoma. They’re also very risky. Before a patient can be given donor marrow, they are first exposed to medications that eliminate their own bone marrow.

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