Thursday, January 24, 2013

HIV might be rendered almost "harmless" by new cell therapy (Stanford); Hastings proposal on obesity stirs moral controversy

A new paper in Nature, Molecular Therapy, reports a project at Stanford where researchers created HIV-resistant T4 (or T-helper) cells, which, if propagated (as by stem cell treatment) could protect people infected with HIV from ever progressing to AIDS.

The Huffington Post offers a video about the story (by Robin Wilkey) (website url) here

The therapy would be straightforward.  As a patient gets a transfusion of HIV-resistant cells, the susceptible cells gradually die off.

NIH has a paper on “long term non-progressors” dating back to 2006 (website url) here

It has long been known that some people exposed never progress or progress very slowly to AIDS.  It’s never been clear whether HIV resistance naturally would evolve.

On another health matter, NBC News created controversy this morning with a story by JoeNel Allecia about “fat-shaming” to control obesity, here, referring to a paper from the Hastings Center by Daniel Callahan, here. A survey by NBC found that 59% of respondents objected to regarding obesity in moral terms.  Callahn says that over one-third of adults and 17% of kids are obese (not just overweight).  It seems that the one great exception (outside of the world of runners, bikers, swimmers, and athletes) is the disco floor.  

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