Can cloned white blood cells combat HIV?

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Offline thedoc

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Can cloned white blood cells combat HIV?
« on: 22/01/2014 02:30:01 »
Obvious asked the Naked Scientists:
As humans we are really trying to compat HIV/Aids and usually we are not getting any curative solution to it.

I was wondering if the people involved have tried to clone a person's white blood cells so that instead of taking antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), one can get a dosage of his/her cloned white blood cells.

Maybe it is not practical but i would like to know the science behind the failure.

Thank you very much.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 22/01/2014 02:30:01 by _system »


Offline CliffordK

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Re: Can cloned white blood cells combat HIV?
« Reply #1 on: 22/01/2014 04:42:52 »
I think part of the problem is that one not only needs the white blood cells, but one needs the "history" that they contain.  Just cloned WBCs might not help.  If one had an identical twin, one could potentially get periodic touch-ups. 

However, without the antivirals, you would still have the viral load.  The current antiviral treatments are generally quite effective at reducing the viral load to near zero.

Timothy Ray Brown, or the "Berlin Patient" was given a bone marrow transplant containing the CCR5 mutation which confers resistance to AIDS.  The bone marrow transplant is a brutal treatment, but was done for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia.  Anyway, due to being given the CCR5 mutation, Timothy Ray Brown is considered to be the first patient ever cured of HIV/AIDS, and no longer requires HIV/AIDS treatment.

Other patients that have had bone marrow transplants without also receiving the CCR5 mutation have had a return of the virus once anti-retroviral therapy was stopped.

Perhaps in the future there would be a way to make custom WBC's, or marrow that would carry the desired genes, especially those conferring resistance to HIV/AIDS, and also compatible with the body. 

Lukemia patients are treated with radiation therapy to wipe out the existing bone marrow in an extremely high risk procedure.  However, if the goal is merely to add new WBCs, then perhaps one could do the transplant without wiping out all the existing marrow.