Have We Found a Cure for HIV?

Have We Found a Cure for HIV?

Over 30 years into the epidemic, there is renewed hope that a cure for HIV may have been found following the presentation of two HIV cases at the 19th annual International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C, last week. Two men who were diagnosed with both HIV and cancer appear to be cured of the HIV virus. The two recent cases appear to be following in the footsteps of the famous “Berlin patient,” who had HIV and was treated for leukemia with a bone marrow transplant. The transplant, which replaced the patient’s own infected cells, came from a donor with a genetic mutation that makes immune cells resist HIV infection. Five years later he is HIV-free. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston hoped to accomplish a similar feat with a simpler treatment. Two patients infected with HIV who endured multiple rounds of treatment for lymphoma both had stem-cell treatments while maintaining HIV therapy — which was key to the treatment’s success. It appears that the donor cells killed off and replaced the infected cells. Meanwhile, the HIV drugs protected the donor cells. One patient is HIV-free 2 years later, and the other is seemingly uninfected more than 3 years later. While the patients can’t be told they are cured, they are staying on HIV therapy until they can be carefully taken off under experimental...

Important Concepts in Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a heterogeneous group of diseases that together accounts for 66,000 new cases each year in the United States, making it the fifth most common cancer. Over four dozen discrete NHL subtypes are now recognized, each characterized by unique biology with implications for diagnosis and therapy. Clinically, NHLs can be generally classified by their cell of origin (B-cell or T-cell), as well as by clinical behavior, which may be considered indolent (eg, follicular lymphoma), aggressive (eg, diffuse large Bcell lymphoma) or highly aggressive (eg, Burkitt lymphoma). Aggressive and highly-aggressive NHLs are often curable diseases; the goal of therapy is complete disease eradication. In contrast, indolent NHLs are usually incurable with standard therapies, but given long natural histories that may be measured in years to decades, treatment is used as needed to control symptoms while prolonging overall survival. Over the past decade, diagnostics and therapies for NHL have evolved rapidly and have been at the vanguard for the development of novel targeted anti-cancer therapies that can improve outcomes for lymphoma patients and ultimately minimize broad toxicities of chemotherapy. Addressing Diagnosis, Treatment, & Supportive Care Lymphoma subtypes may be difficult to diagnose, but accurate classification is critical in selecting appropriate therapy. Clinicians must therefore collaborate closely with pathologists, ideally with expertise in hematopathology. Once patients are diagnosed, treatment will further depend on...