Reality: The Ultimate Downer

In light of this news, lots of people are wondering: “If bone marrow transplants ‘cure’ HIV, why not give everyone with HIV bone marrow transplants…?”

Well, why not?

Certainly the process is not easy or cheap. When I first wrote about this in 2008 (!!!), I mentioned that there is no way this would be a viable treatment option in the Third World (aka the places of the world that need a viable HIV cure the most). But if would could do it in the US, in Europe, maybe we could get the process down. Make it better, make it cheaper, optimize everything until it is cheap enough for Third World countries.

It already helps that we now know you do not need the Super Special delta-32 bone marrow donor (people who lack one of the co-receptors HIV likes). If the HIV+ person stays on antiretrovirals during the transplant process (transplant from any match), they can come out ‘cured’ too.

But here is why this wont be a standard therapy for HIV in the near future:

Boy, 12, dies after undergoing historic transplant at U to treat HIV and leukemia

Dammit.

Comments

  1. #1 Burt Humburg
    United States
    July 14, 2013

    Oh jeez, BMTx is a total crapshoot. When it goes well, yay. When it goes poorly, it’s horrible.