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marrow transplant

Oct 3, 1996

Do you have any information about the AIDS patient who got a marrow transplant from a baboom? Is he still alive? I would like to know if doctors are considering marrow transplants as a possible cure for AIDS.

Response from Dr. Cohen

I do not have up to date information on the patient who underwent the baboon marrow transplant, but to my knowledge he is alive, but the transplant failed. It was speculated that the reason for failure may have been that the patient's own marrow was not adequately "ablated" (destroyed), so the baboon marrow failed to "engraft" (take hold and replace the patient's own marrow.)

Marrow transplants using related human donors had been tried before and had failed. The reason for attempting transplantation using baboon marrow was that baboons cannot become infected with this type of virus. It was hoped that replacing human marrow with baboon marrow would confer this same "immunity" on the human marrow recipient. I don't think that anyone is considering further human marrow transplants. Whether there is still interest in further baboon transplants using more aggressive marrow ablation is another question, and I don't know the answer.

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