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Author Topic: University of Minnesota doctors try to cure boy of HIV and Cancer  (Read 2323 times)

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Offline Jmarksto

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  • Posts: 465
The University of Minnesota is applying a similar procedure as Timothy Brown's in hopes of curing a boy of both HIV and leukemia.

Here's to wishing the best for him and his family.

www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/204025271.html
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD

Offline freewillie99

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  • Posts: 306
Re: University of Minnesota doctors try to cure boy of HIV and Cancer
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2013, 05:17:57 PM »
Best of luck to the little fella.

One of these days soon Gene Therapy is going to produce a few more Tim Browns and things will get very interesting.
Beware Romanians bearing strange gifts

Offline jaace24

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  • Posts: 35
Re: University of Minnesota doctors try to cure boy of HIV and Cancer
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2013, 11:06:55 AM »
I live in MN and the U of M's research department is amazing!  I read this yesterday in the paper and think this is fantastic.  I wish nothing but the best for the boy.  It would be fantastic if the university is able to figure out a cure for everyone through this.  Some amazing stuff is happening.

Offline Dr.Strangelove

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  • Posts: 206
Re: University of Minnesota doctors try to cure boy of HIV and Cancer
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2013, 02:12:11 PM »
I wish the best for the boy, too. It would be great if the results of the Timothy Brown case could be replicated.

But let's stay realistic. A bone marrow transplant from a HIV-immune donor is not going to lead to a cure for everyone.

The closest cure approach is Sangamo's zinc finger nucleases but it seems they have some obstacles on the way...

Offline freewillie99

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  • Posts: 306
Re: University of Minnesota doctors try to cure boy of HIV and Cancer
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2013, 06:33:33 AM »
I wish the best for the boy, too. It would be great if the results of the Timothy Brown case could be replicated.

But let's stay realistic. A bone marrow transplant from a HIV-immune donor is not going to lead to a cure for everyone.

The closest cure approach is Sangamo's zinc finger nucleases but it seems they have some obstacles on the way...

As you know, it's not the bone marrow transplant that will be the ultimate treatment.  It will be something like the CCR5 deleting gene therapy currently being developed by Sangamo, Calimmune, etc, that will be put into much more widespread use.  Procedures like this from the University of Minnesota only serve as additional proof of concept and to generate greater public awareness / enthusiasm for these type cure strategies.

Speaking of Sangamo, they're presenting interim Phase 2 results in about 3 weeks.  Given your "obstacles on the way" comment, do you have any insider info you'd like to share in advance of that presentation?  Might it be time to short the stock?   
Beware Romanians bearing strange gifts

Offline emeraldize

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Re: University of Minnesota doctors try to cure boy of HIV and Cancer
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2013, 12:53:25 PM »
Speaking of Sangamo, they're presenting interim Phase 2 results in about 3 weeks.  Given your "obstacles on the way" comment, do you have any insider info you'd like to share in advance of that presentation?  Might it be time to short the stock?

Ditto on that inquiry. 

Offline Dr.Strangelove

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  • Posts: 206
Re: University of Minnesota doctors try to cure boy of HIV and Cancer
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2013, 01:37:14 PM »
No unfortunately I don't. And I'm not in the stock market anyway.
I was only referring to the fact that while Sangamo showed us some other data, we still got no hint that their therapy manages to bring down the viral load. And I'd argue that's kind of a requirement for using the term cure.  :)
I think that if their therapy was reducing the viral load to undetectable levels, they would have told us already. Instead, they told us about the longevity of their immunized cells in vivo etc.
I still think their approach can work though. And if not that current approach with immunizing the cells ex vivo then perhaps their plan B of producing the immune T-cells in vivo.


The reason I was nitpicking about the other thing is because the comment was lumping together two things that had nothing to do with each other. The Timothy Brown case already was the proof of concept. And that concept is very simple: "HIV infects T-cells. Immunize the T-cells (by interrupting the HIV-receptor) and HIV can't replicate and eventually vanishes."
That's the concept that encouraged Sangamo to try their zinc finger approach. But their approach is completely different from transplanting bone marrow from an already immune donor. That's why another case of cure by bone marrow transplant will not help Sangamo in their zinc finger approach.
Will a second Timothy Brownian case generate greater public awareness & enthusiasm? Yes, absolutely
Will it lead to a cure for everyone? No


A similar example of this is the recently cured baby. Back then, some commentators and even news articles suggested that this would pave the road to a cure for everybody. And that's just wrong. The case taught us that in a HIV positive newborn there is a small chance of catching and eradicating the virus before it manifests itself in latent memory cells. That's great news. But it doesn't affect or help finding a cure for people like us who have an established HIV infection.

I'm all for staying hopeful and positive about ongoing research but let's stay realistic and not lump things together that have little to do with each other. That's all I am saying.

Offline freewillie99

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  • Posts: 306
Re: University of Minnesota doctors try to cure boy of HIV and Cancer
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2013, 01:53:59 PM »
No unfortunately I don't. And I'm not in the stock market anyway.
I was only referring to the fact that while Sangamo showed us some other data, we still got no hint that their therapy manages to bring down the viral load. And I'd argue that's kind of a requirement for using the term cure.  :)
I think that if their therapy was reducing the viral load to undetectable levels, they would have told us already. Instead, they told us about the longevity of their immunized cells in vivo etc.
I still think their approach can work though. And if not that current approach with immunizing the cells ex vivo then perhaps their plan B of producing the immune T-cells in vivo.


The reason I was nitpicking about the other thing is because the comment was lumping together two things that had nothing to do with each other. The Timothy Brown case already was the proof of concept. And that concept is very simple: "HIV infects T-cells. Immunize the T-cells (by interrupting the HIV-receptor) and HIV can't replicate and eventually vanishes."
That's the concept that encouraged Sangamo to try their zinc finger approach. But their approach is completely different from transplanting bone marrow from an already immune donor. That's why another case of cure by bone marrow transplant will not help Sangamo in their zinc finger approach.
Will a second Timothy Brownian case generate greater public awareness & enthusiasm? Yes, absolutely
Will it lead to a cure for everyone? No


A similar example of this is the recently cured baby. Back then, some commentators and even news articles suggested that this would pave the road to a cure for everybody. And that's just wrong. The case taught us that in a HIV positive newborn there is a small chance of catching and eradicating the virus before it manifests itself in latent memory cells. That's great news. But it doesn't affect or help finding a cure for people like us who have an established HIV infection.

I'm all for staying hopeful and positive about ongoing research but let's stay realistic and not lump things together that have little to do with each other. That's all I am saying.

That's good stuff and my hope is that SGMO will surprise us all on the VL front.

Kind of bummed you didn't have any insider stuff though:'(
Beware Romanians bearing strange gifts

Offline geobee

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  • Posts: 262
Re: University of Minnesota doctors try to cure boy of HIV and Cancer
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2013, 05:30:01 PM »
Here's another good article on the cord-blood --

http://www1.umn.edu/news/features/2013/UR_CONTENT_440332.html

Juicy bits:

"We'll test the patient frequently to monitor the viral load—that is, the amount of virus in the blood," says University physician Dr. Timothy Schacker. "When it is undetectable in both the blood and the tissues, we will remove the patient from HIV drugs. This is really the ultimate test of a cure. We anticipate that this will happen in the next weeks to months."

This is pretty cool stuff.  If it works it will validate the Sangamo or CalImmune stem-cell approach.


Offline hotguyinTX

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  • Posts: 15
Re: University of Minnesota doctors try to cure boy of HIV and Cancer
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2013, 09:17:59 PM »
From what I understand, HIV requires immune cells to replicate. So, if you take a therapy where your immune system is completely wiped out, wouldn't that also cure HIV anyway without needing the mutated blood?  Keep the HAART for a while to make sure that any residual HIV virus doesn't get a chance to replicate.

Have they ever done this before?


Offline YellowFever

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  • Posts: 155
Re: University of Minnesota doctors try to cure boy of HIV and Cancer
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2013, 10:11:03 PM »
From what I understand, HIV requires immune cells to replicate. So, if you take a therapy where your immune system is completely wiped out, wouldn't that also cure HIV anyway without needing the mutated blood?  Keep the HAART for a while to make sure that any residual HIV virus doesn't get a chance to replicate.

Have they ever done this before?



spot on! That is exactly the kind of data people would be interested in. So far the scepticism spend the Berlin patient revolves around the use of chemotherapy/radiotherapy in addition to stem cell therapy. So hopefully they can figure out a way to decouple the two
08/2010 HIV- 08/2012 HIV+
10/2012 CD4 415(15%)
04/2013 CD4 457(15%)
10/2013 CD4 520 (20%) VL 650 (wtf?)
02/2014 CD4 410(20%) VL 390 (yay!)

Offline Dr.Strangelove

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  • Posts: 206
Re: University of Minnesota doctors try to cure boy of HIV and Cancer
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2013, 10:11:54 PM »
As a general note, wiping all your immune cells will leave you extremely vulnerable. Any virus or other pathogen would be able to kill you.

The problem with HIV are the latent immune cells ('memory cells'). They carry the HIV genome in their DNA but they are not active and therefore asymptomatic. They do not produce any HIV proteins etc (yet). Those cells are not that easily accessible because they don't reside in the blood system.
There are some drugs such as voronistat/Saha that attempt to awake those latent cells, so that the HIV meds or other means are able to detect and kill them.
But I am not aware of any mechanism that is able to wipe the entire immune system, except maybe chemotherapy. But I doubt that even that kills everything.
From what I understand, the Timothy Brown approach worked because every new (immune-system) cell that was created from the newly implanted bone marrow was immune to HIV. So, over time all of the old cells (that may have survived even chemotherapy) were replaced with the new HIV-immune cells.

Offline hotguyinTX

  • Member
  • Posts: 15
Re: University of Minnesota doctors try to cure boy of HIV and Cancer
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2013, 12:09:22 AM »
Of course, wiping immune system means making yourself vulnerable to opportunistic infections and impaired defenses... but this study states that HIV itself has a very short lifespan - it's only 2.2 days inside the cells. The plasma viron is only .3 days.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8599114

So, once we eliminate immune cells and make them take HAART for a few weeks, do you think it is clearly feastible?

What about David, the bubble boy who lived in a bubble to avoid contracting germs? He lived until he reached 12 years despite having no immune system. 

Just wondering why I haven't read anything that suggests that kind of therapy as it seems logical. People say, "But it can kill you..." but if you're taking HAART and it isn't working, don't you think it's a good idea to TRY ANYTHING to save a life?

Also, HIV attaches to one of two receptors - CCR5 and CXCR4 - to get into the cells. The blood that Tim received was only missing CCR5.. it does have CXCR4 so how come he's not producing HIV considering that in late stages of HIV, HIV favors CXCR4 over CCR5?








Offline freewillie99

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  • Posts: 306
Re: University of Minnesota doctors try to cure boy of HIV and Cancer
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2013, 10:00:25 AM »
So far the scepticism spend the Berlin patient

Is that like the skepticism of whether 9/11 was actually carried out by al Qaeda, whether Lanza took his orders at Sandy Hook from Obama or whether Tupac is really alive and living in Buenos Aires?  You mean that type skepticism?  Gotcha.
Beware Romanians bearing strange gifts

 


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