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TheScientificWorldJOURNAL
Volume 11 (2011), Pages 1068-1076
http://dx.doi.org/10.1100/tsw.2011.102
Opinion

Eradication of HIV by Transplantation of CCR5-Deficient Hematopoietic Stem Cells

1Institute of Transfusion Medicine and Immunology, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Germany
2German Red Cross Blood Service Baden-Württemberg – Hessen, Germany
3II Medical Department, Asklepios Klinik Altona, Hamburg, Germany

Received 13 February 2011; Revised 6 April 2011; Accepted 22 April 2011

Academic Editor: Edward J. Benz

Copyright © 2011 Gero Hütter and Susanne Ganepola.

Abstract

Today, 30 years after the onset of the HIV pandemic, although treatment strategies have considerably improved, there is still no cure for the disease. Recently, we described a successful hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in an HIV-1–infected patient, transferring donor-derived cells with a natural resistance against HIV infection. These hematopoietic stem cells engrafted, proliferated, and differentiated into mature myeloid and lymphoid cells. To date, the patient has not required any antiretroviral treatment, more than 4 years after allogeneic transplantation. In the analysis of peripheral blood cells and different tissue samples, including gut, liver, and brain, no viral load or proviral DNA could be detected. Our report raises the hope for further targeted treatment strategies against HIV and represents a successful personalized treatment with allogeneic stem cells carrying a beneficial gene. However, this case has ignited a controversy regarding the question of whether this patient has achieved complete eradication of HIV or not. Here we give an update on open questions, unsolved aspects, and clinical consequences concerning this unique case.