Bone marrow frees men of HIV drugs

Two patients have been taken off their HIV drugs after bone-marrow transplants seemed to clear the virus from their bodies, doctors report. One of the patients has spent nearly four months without taking medication with no sign of the virus returning. The team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in the US, caution that it is far too soon to talk about a cure as the virus could return at any point.
The findings were presented at the International Aids Society Conference. It is difficult to get rid of an HIV infection because it hides inside human DNA, forming untouchable "reservoirs" in body. Anti-retroviral drugs keep the virus in check within the bloodstream – but when the drugs stop, the virus comes back.
The two men, who have not been identified, had lived with HIV for about 30 years. They both developed a cancer, lymphoma, which required a bone-marrow transplant.
Bone marrow is where new blood cells are made and it is thought to be a major reservoir for HIV.
After the transplant, there was no detectable HIV in the blood for two years in one patient and four in the other.