Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Glimmer of Hope

Some good news on the AIDS front.

Medical researchers are again in pursuit of a goal they had all but abandoned: curing AIDS.

Until recently, the possibility seemed little more than wishful thinking. But the experiences of two patients now suggest to many scientists that it may be achievable.

One man, the so-called Berlin patient, apparently has cleared his H.I.V. infection, albeit by arduous bone marrow transplants.

More recently, a 50-year-old man in Trenton underwent a far less difficult gene therapy procedure. While he was not cured, his body was able to briefly control the virus after he stopped taking the usual antiviral drugs, something that is highly unusual.

“It’s hard to understate how the scientific community has swung in its thinking about the possibility that we can do this,” said Kevin Frost, chief executive of the Foundation for Aids Research, a nonprofit group. “Cure, in the context of H.I.V., had become almost a four-letter word.”

To quote Andrew Sullivan, know hope.