April 23: Historic transplant for boy with HIV, leukemia

  • Article by: Maura Lerner , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 12, 2013 - 6:19 PM

U doctors hope to make history with a type of cell transplant on a boy with HIV and leukemia.

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smakolaApr. 24, 13 9:52 AM

Medicine is so cool.

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umdontaskmeApr. 24, 1310:39 AM

This is an interesting story, but it's missing critical information. If a man was cured of HIV and Leukemia six years ago, why is it only being tried for the second time now? What has prevented other attempts? What are the risks? What are the costs?

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msennekaApr. 24, 13 4:17 PM

umdontaskme - This type of transplant might have been replicated since the original patient - they may not have made the news. I haven't looked to see if there are studies for this. This is news because it is the first one using cells from umbilibal cord blood rather than an adult donor. If other transplants for leukemia/HIV haven't been done, there are probably a number of factors that have kept it from being done again. Both patients have leukemia AND HIV - probably not very common and would have to be a leukemia patient that did not respond to chemotherapy in order for them to go to transplant. Marrow transplant is always a very risky treatment even in a patient without HIV so if chemo works they don't transplant. Then the gene mutation that creates this resistance to HIV is very rare. It is found in 1% of the Northern European white population. So the patient would need to find a genetic matching donor/cord blood unit that carries that mutation. You can do a google search on the first patient referred to as "The Berlin Patient" to understand what they went through to find a donor for him.

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beveryafraidApr. 24, 13 4:59 PM

The man who led the team which performed the world's first bone marrow transplant was Dr. John Kersey. After a long career in cancer research and treatment at the University of Minnesota, (including founding the Cancer Center) Dr. Kersey passed away in March 2013. Anyone who has undergone a bone marrow transplant or treated for leukemia owes a debt of gratitude to this truly great man.

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