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May 16, 2011

AIDS-- Cured?!?!

We've heard this before, of course.

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — A 45-year-old man now living in the Bay Area may be the first person ever cured of the deadly disease AIDS, the result of the discovery of an apparent HIV immunity gene.

Timothy Ray Brown tested positive for HIV back in 1995, but has now entered scientific journals as the first man in world history to have that HIV virus completely eliminated from his body in what doctors call a “functional cure.”

Brown was living in Berlin, Germany back in 2007, dealing with HIV and leukemia, when scientists there gave him a bone marrow stem cell transplant that had astounding results.

“I quit taking my HIV medication the day that I got the transplant and haven’t had to take any sense,” said Brown, who has been dubbed “The Berlin Patient” by the medical community.

What's so special about those stem cells? Possibly a genetic inheritance from the Black Plague:

Sceintists said Brown received stem cells from a donor who was immune to HIV. In fact, about one percent of caucasians are immune to HIV. Some researchers think the immunity gene goes back to the Great Plague: people who survived the plague passed their immunity down and their heirs have it today.

I don't see it explicitly noted in the article but "bone marrow stem cells" indicate to me adult stem cells -- embryos don't have "bone marrow" or bones for that matter -- and so, yeah. Looks like this whole insistence on embryonic stem cells is a bit of political red herring.

On the other hand, if such cells, once identified, can cure major diseases (cancer?), there might be a push to mass-clone them, which means... creating a lot of embryos of the stem cells to produce them on an industrial scale.


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posted by Ace at 05:13 PM

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