Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Fighting AIDS One Gene at a Time: Is Gene Therapy the Future of HIV Treatment?

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Fighting AIDS One Gene at a Time: Is Gene Therapy the Future of HIV Treatment?

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

IT WAS HAILED AS A MEDICAL miracle: After undergoing a stem-cell transplant to treat his leukemia, a 40-year-old HIV-positive man was found to have no detectable HIV in his blood and no symptoms. As reported in The New England Journal of Medicine February 12, the man, an American living in Germany, had received stem cells from a donor with a genetic resistance to HIV.

While the result surprised many, research into gene therapy as a means to treat HIV--which utilizes similar methodology as stem-cell treatment--has been under way for some time. In fact, just days after the stem-cell transplant made headlines around the world, results from the largest clinical trial of HIV gene therapy to date were released by the Center for Clinical AIDS Research and Education at the University of California, Los Angeles. They suggested the approach could be an effective way to reduce viral load, preserve the immune system, and curb near-constant usage of antiretroviral drugs. …

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