Do stem cell transplants cure HIV? Watch

Doctor_Einstein
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Since HIV is a virus that infects T lymphocytes, if you perform an allogeneic stem cell transplant in these patients as done in leukemia, with a mild graft vs host effect, will this cure HIV?

Why isn't this a mainstream treatment to cure HIV?
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Helenia
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Because stem cell transplant is very expensive and carries a not-inconsiderable risk of death. Given that HIV can be controlled by modern medications, this risk is generally thought to be not worth taking.

Plus it doesn't seem to work as well as people had originally hoped: http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...-for-hiv-cure/
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Kinkerz
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I don't understand your logic.

H.I.V. can remain latent in the cells that it infects (mostly T-cells, but not exclusively), so it can hang around until the new cells from the transplant go through their T-cell-maturation process and infect these 'new' cells.

Why would induction of 'mild' graft-versus-host make a help?
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Doctor_Einstein
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(Original post by Kinkerz)
I don't understand your logic.

H.I.V. can remain latent in the cells that it infects (mostly T-cells, but not exclusively), so it can hang around until the new cells from the transplant go through their T-cell-maturation process and infect these 'new' cells.

Why would induction of 'mild' graft-versus-host make a help?
The logic was based on the assumption that the virus remains latent only in the T-cells.

The mild graft-versus-host disease thus helps eliminate more of the infected T-cells as done for leukemia patients.

Even the article above uses the same logic:

Henrich and Kuritzkes thought that the men could have been cured by a phenomenon called graft-versus-host disease, a common complication of transplants, in which transplanted cells attack the body’s immune cells. The physicians speculated that this had eliminated all remaining HIV-infected cells.
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Kinkerz
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(Original post by Doctor_Einstein)
The logic was based on the assumption that the virus remains latent only in the T-cells.

The mild graft-versus-host disease thus helps eliminate more of the infected T-cells as done for leukemia patients.

Even the article above uses the same logic:

Henrich and Kuritzkes thought that the men could have been cured by a phenomenon called graft-versus-host disease, a common complication of transplants, in which transplanted cells attack the body’s immune cells. The physicians speculated that this had eliminated all remaining HIV-infected cells.
Yes but why would the graft-versus-host take out T-cells specifically?

T-cells from the donor tissue that cause graft-versus-host disease generally 'attack' various cell-types in various organs. I can't think of a reason why host T-cells would be specifically targeted.

It just seems like such a tenuous assumption that induction of graft-versus-host would knock out all infected T-cells.
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