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Is a bone marrow transplant optional for someone diagnosed with HIV

Jan 31, 2009

In my own research I have found out about a man in Germany who was diagnosed with HIV, that also had cancer of the bone marrow and upon getting a bone marrow transplant from a donner who was resistant to HIV was "Functionally Cured,"of his HIV and has remained so. My Question is would it be an option for someone with an HIV or AIDS diagnosis, to have a bone marrow transplant if they don't have another life threatening desease. In other words isn't one desease enough? If the ethical mortality rate is a doctors reason for denying a patient the procedure, shouldn't it be left up to the patient to decide which is the lesser of the two evils for themselves?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

I won't comment of the ethics of BM transplantation in HIV infection. The German case is somewhat unique, which required prior chemotherapy to ablate (destroy) the person's immune system and then get a transplant of cells from someone who carried a gene that makes it very hard or impossible for HIV to infect their cells. Thus, routine bone marrow transplantation with just matching the donor to the recipient would likely not work.

Concerned over Low White Blood Count
Modes of transfer for HIV Virus

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