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Adult Stem-Cell Cure for HIV?

by | Mar 4, 2024

By Wesley J. Smith

We must always be cautious about stories touting biotechnological cures. There is a lot of hype out there, but this seems genuine. An HIV/blood-cancer patient seems to have gone into permanent remission thanks to adult stem cells. From the Daily Mail story:

California man is on the cusp of being declared cured of HIV and blood cancer.

Paul Edmonds, 68, who condition five years after being given a transplant of cells that rid his body of both diseases.

In a new article by the medical team who treated him, doctors said he was officially cured of cancer and two years away from being declared cured of HIV – when he will have gone without any medication since 2020.

The adult (blood and bone marrow) stem cells were donated by a man with a particular genetic predisposition:

He was treated for the cancer with stem cell therapy, which involves replacing stem cells damaged by chemotherapy with healthy ones from a donor – when doctors spotted a unique opportunity: to find a donor with a HIV-resistant genetic mutation.

And, so they did, to great apparent success.

Thanks to the ongoing breakthroughs in gene editing and other approaches, researchers hope to be able to create lines of these particular cells for use against HIV:

Dr Stephen Forman, a professor in the Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, said the hospital was ‘not stopping there.’  ‘Our researchers are working on creating stem cells that have the genetic mutation that makes them naturally resistant to HIV, among other research initiatives,’ he said.

Terrific.

I would be remiss if I didn’t note that during the great embryonic stem-cell debate, circa 2001-08, the “settled science” insisted that embryonic stem cells were the “gold standard” for future regenerative medical treatments. Those who disagreed were often castigated in the media, among the scientific establishment, and by liberal politicians as “anti-science” or religious fanatics standing in the way of CURES! CURES! CURES!

Well, more than 20 years later, there are zero approved embryonic stem-cell therapies and very few human trials, demonstrating how a “consensus science” that seeks to stifle open scientific inquiry and heterodox advocacy harms the scientific quest for truth.

For those interested in the technical details of this promising approach, here’s a link to the New England Journal of Medicine report.

Editor’s note. Wesley’s great columns appear at National Review Online and are reposted with permission.

Categories: Adult Stem Cells