February 11, 2009: The New England Journal of Medicine reports that a 42-year-old HIV and Leukemia patient seems to be virus free two years after a stem cell transplant. The transplant, utilizing stem cells found in bone marrow, was intended to treat his leukemia, but the doctors at the Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin in Germany used donor cells possessing a rare mutation that makes them resistant to HIV.
Doctors warn that this is not a cure for HIV. For one thing, they cannot tell if the patient will suffer a relapse; although the fact that he has remained nearly virus-free for two years is certainly encouraging. More importantly, the operation is a risky one and impractical for the vast majority of HIV patients. Still, it provides a promising direction for future research.
Game and Story Use
- In a campaign set Twenty Minutes Into the Future, the PCs may be trying to protect an important NPC who is getting a dangerous operation to treat a fatal condition.