Bone Marrow Transplant Eliminates Signs of HIV Infection
Two men with longstanding HIV infections no longer have detectable HIV in their blood cells following bone marrow transplants. The virus was easily detected in blood lymphocytes of both men prior to their transplants but became undetectable by eight months post-transplant. The men, who were treated at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), have remained on anti-retroviral therapy.
Their cases will be presented on July 26, 2012 at the International AIDS Conference by Timothy Henrich, MD and Daniel Kuritzkes, MD, physician-researchers in the Division of Infectious Diseases at BWH.
“This gives us some important information,” said Dr. Kuritzkes. “It suggests that under the cover of anti-retroviral therapy, the cells that repopulated the patient’s immune system appear to be protected from becoming re-infected with HIV.”
One patient’s bone marrow transplant was two years ago, the other was four years ago. Both were performed at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. Over time, as the patients’ cells were replaced by donor cells, traces of HIV were lost. Currently, both patients have no detectable HIV DNA or RNA in their blood. The level of HIV antibody, a measure of exposure to HIV, also declined in both men.