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Broad-Spectrum Killer T-Cells May Be Needed to Fight Latent HIV

Cytotoxic T-cells with a wide spectrum of activity may be necessary to detect and destroy memory CD4 T-cells containing inactive reservoir HIV from people who start antiretroviral therapy (ART) during chronic infection, according to research reported in the January 7 edition of Nature. People who start treatment very early, however, may still have non-mutated virus that is susceptible to detection by normal killer T-cells -- and a therapeutic vaccine may help boost immune responses in those treated later.

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4. HIV Cure Setbacks: Mississippi Baby and Bone Marrow Transplants

The quest for an HIV cure saw some setbacks in 2014, with further news about 2 stem cell transplant patients in Boston who experienced HIV rebound several months after interrupting antiretroviral therapy (ART). This was followed in July by an announcement that HIV was detected in a child in Mississippi who had maintained undetectable viral load for more than 2 years off treatment.

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Second Potentially Cured Baby Has HIV Relapse Soon After Stopping Treatment

An Italian child who started antiretroviral treatment soon after birth and had undetectable plasma viral load, no apparent HIV DNA, and tested HIV antibody negative nevertheless experienced viral rebound shortly after a treatment interruption, once again disappointing hopes for a cure, researchers reported in the October 4 edition of The Lancet.

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CCR5-Delta-32 Stem Cell Transplants Unsuccessful in 6 Patients -- Berlin Patient Remains the Sole HIV Cure

Bone marrow transplants from donors with a naturally occurring mutation that protects immune cells from HIV failed to cure 6 additional HIV positive blood cancer patients, leaving "Berlin Patient" Timothy Ray Brown as the only person to show no signs of HIV infection several years after receiving this type of transplant, Brown's doctor Gero Hütter reported in the December 18 New England Journal of Medicine. Brown recently published his own story of being the only man known to be cured of HIV.alt

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Monkey Transplant Study Rules Out Possible HIV Cure Mechanism

Macaque monkeys that received transplants of their own stem cells after undergoing intensive radiation that killed off their existing SHIV-infected immune cells experienced viral rebound soon after stopping antiretroviral drugs, indicating that pre-transplant "conditioning" was not solely responsible for the only known case of a person cured of HIV.

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