New Delhi, Nov 13 : Researchers from Berlin's Charite hospital were successfully able to ward off HIV virus from a patient's body with the help of bone marrow transplantation.
According to the doctors, bone marrow transplants are generally used to fight leukaemia, however, during the present study the researchers found that the procedure can also prove effective against HIV virus. The research was conducted by Dr. Gero Huetter over a 42-year-old American man from Berlin who had been infected with the AIDS virus for more than a decade.
However, after the transplantation of genetically selected bone marrow, he no longer showed signs of carrying the virus, reports China Daily.
But Dr. Andrew Badley, director of the HIV and immunology research lab at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn, suggests, " a lot more scrutiny from a lot of different biological samples would be required to say it's not present."
Before the transplant, the patient was asked to take powerful drugs and radiation to kill off his own infected bone marrow cells and disable his immune system.
He also stopped the use of important drugs to treat AIDS, anticipating that the new, mutated cells would ward off virus on their own
Huetter revealed that some people carry a genetic mutation called Delta 32 that apparently makes them resistant to HIV infection.
If the mutation is inherited from both parents, it prevents HIV from attaching itself to cells by blocking CCR5, a receptor critical for the spread of AIDS virus.
"It helps prove the concept that if somehow you can block the expression of CCR5, maybe by gene therapy, you might be able to inhibit the ability of the virus to replicate," said Fauci.