The AIDS Cure | Popular Science

I’m fairly certain that paraphrasing would be a gross injustice to Mr. Mandavilli , so in this case I will just summarize and encourage you to read the entire article  yourself. The bottom line is this: Less than 1% of the world population has an immunity (rather a genetic mutation) to HIV because the binding mechanism of the virus to healthy cells simply doesn’t work. If we could truly mimic this process or even transplant it–as was the case with the “Berlin Patient”–we’d have a cure. So we’re moving in that direction, but we could have been closer to it by now…

So what’s this mutation?Called CCR5-delta32, it’s a mutant form of CCR5, a receptor that HIV needs to gain entry into one of its well-known targets: CD4+ T cells. In 1995 Timothy Ray Brown was diagnosed with HIV. He then developed an unrelated  case of acute myelogenous leukemia that put his body into a tale spin. The solution was a bone marrow transplant that helped cure the leukemia and  gave him immunity to HIV. Talk about a two-for!

Similar cases have been reported – some with favorable outcomes, others not so much. Scientists have known for many years that HIV’s dependence on the CCR5 receptor might prove to be its downfall. Brown’s case has given that hypothesis new momentum. Two California companies, Sangamo Biosciences Inc. and Calimmune, are using gene-therapy techniques to disable or delete CCR5.

The AIDS Cure | Popular Science.