Local physician: HIV/AIDS cure getting little publicity

Dr. Awadhesh Gupta said medical ‘politics’ could be reason

By Bob Morgan – BaldwinCountyNow.com

FOLEY, Ala. — A Foley physician said what appears to be the first case of HIV/AIDS cure in the world is getting little mention in the media.

Dr. Awadhesh K. Gupta, medical director at Foley Walk-In Med Care, said he first heard of the medical breakthrough in April when he attended the Annual Conference of the American College of Physicians in Internal Medicine in Philadelphia.

It’s a conference Gupta tries to attend every year.

“This is the most prestigious organization of physicians in Internal Medicine and is responsible for certifying post graduate training in Internal Medicine. It is also one of the oldest,” he said.

According to Gupta, who has been practicing medicine in the South Baldwin area since 1997, the cure was first reported in early 2008 by a group of physicians from Germany at the annual conference on “Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections” in Boston. The New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world, finally published the report in its Feb. 12, 2009, issue, Gupta said.

So why has the news of the first case of HIV/AIDS cure received so little attention where the public is concerned?

“I can’t be sure as to why so little publicity,” Gupta said recently.

“My guess is that most scientific researchers are somewhat stunned that a clinician — not a research scientist — has been able to come up with the cure. Most of the big research money and big name American institutions are somewhat embarrassed to acknowledge that the very first case of HIV cure is not coming from their institutions.”

The cure, instead, is coming from Charity University Hospital in Berlin, Germany, and the doctor is Gero Huetter, who works in the Department of Hematology, Oncology and Transfusion Medicine at the same hospital.

Asked about the reaction of attendees at the medical conference in Philadelphia as regarded the news of an HIV/AIDS cure, Gupta said, “Unfortunately, because of the hectic schedule, I did not try to engage too many physicians. However, the doctor presenting this information seemed extremely excited about it.”

AN AMERICAN

WORKING IN BERLIN

As Gupta explains the case and cure in question, a 40-year-old American working in Berlin had been HIV-positive for 10 years. The patient’s HIV infection had been under control for four years with “conventional HAART treatment regimen” (Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy).

When the patient developed leukemia, however, a bone marrow transplant of stem cells was done using standard protocol, which Gupta said includes radiation therapy and chemotherapy prior to the transplant.

“Remember, once you stop HIV drugs, the HIV viral count rises very rapidly, usually within a few days to a week,” Gupta said.

According to Gupta, Huetter, the German physician treating the American, deliberately chose a stem cell donor who had a gene mutation known as “CCR-5 Delta- 32,” rather than using the best matched donor.

Gupta said Huetter remembered research first observed in 1996 – research Gupta said is well known in the scientific community. That research found that certain gay men in the San Francisco area remained uninfected with HIV in spite of engaging in risky sexual activities. As it was later discovered, those men had the CCR-5 Delta-32 gene mutation.

As it turned out, the patient’s stem cell transplant was a success, Gupta said, even though the patient had to have a second stem cell transplant (from the same donor) when his leukemia relapsed.

“This patient has been off all his HIV drugs for two years now,” Gupta said. “He continues to show no detectable signs of HIV in all the known places HIV is detected — no signs of HIV in his blood, bone marrow, lymph nodes, intestines or brain.” Also, the patient’s T-cell count remains normal.

Thus, according to Gupta, within the limits of scientists’ ability to detect HIV, it appears this patient’s HIV has been “eradicated.”

CCR-5 DELTA-32

The gene mutation CCR-5 Delta-32 is found mostly in white European populations, especially northern Europeans and Scandanavians, according to Gupta, who is on the staff of South Baldwin Regional Medical Center and served as chief of medicine in 2008.

“Those who have this gene mutation from both parents are completely resistant to most common forms of HIV infection. You can get tested for it if you wish,” he said.

“It is believed that this genetic mutation may have happened during long periods of small pox, plague and other pandemics that devastated European populations.”

While the “American living in Berlin” case is in Gupta’s words the “first case of confirmed cure of HIV in the world,” he cites a 1989 case that is similar. Dr. John Rossi, currently at City of Hope Cancer Center in Durate, Calif., had a 41-year-old patient with AIDS and lymphoma. The patient underwent radiation and drug therapy in removing his bone marrow and receiving new cells from a donor.

Whether the donor had the CCR-5 Delta-32 gene mutation or not is not known, Gupta said, but when the patient died of his cancer at age 47 autopsy tests from eight organs and the tumor revealed no HIV.

“I have no doubts that present day high tech stem cell transplantation from CCR-5 Delta-32 donors can cure HIV,” Gupta said, noting, at the same time, that the procedure is expensive at present and has significant risks of complications and a high mortality related to the procedure itself.

Aliens ‘already exist on earth’, Bulgarian scientists claim

Aliens from outer space are already among us on earth, say Bulgarian government scientists who claim they are already in contact with extraterrestrial life.

The Telegraph

Alien_1531120c

Photo: GETTY IMAGES

“Aliens are currently all around us, and are watching us all the time,” Mr Filipov told Bulgarian media.

Work on deciphering a complex set of symbols sent to them is underway, scientists from the country’s Space Research Institute said.

They claim aliens are currently answering 30 questions posed to them.

Lachezar Filipov, deputy director of the Space Research Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, confirmed the research.
He said the centre’s researchers were analysing 150 crop circles from around the world, which they believe answer the questions.

“Aliens are currently all around us, and are watching us all the time,” Mr Filipov told Bulgarian media.

“They are not hostile towards us, rather, they want to help us but we have not grown enough in order to establish direct contact with them.”
Mr Filipov said that even the seat of the Catholic church, the Vatican, had agreed that aliens existed.

He said humans were not going to be able to establish contact with the extraterrestrials through radio waves but through the power of thought.

“The human race was certainly going to have direct contact with the aliens in the next 10 to 15 years,” he said.

“Extraterrestrials are critical of the people’s amoral behavior referring to the humans’ interference in nature’s processes.”

The publication of the BAS researchers report concerning communicating with aliens comes in the midst of a controversy over the role, feasibility, and reform of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

Last week it lead to a heated debate between Bulgaria’s Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, and President Georgi Parvanov.

Large Hadron Collider produces first proton collisions in Big Bang mission

The Large Hadron Collider, the world’s biggest atom smasher, has succeeding in producing the first proton collisions, just three days after it was restarted following repairs.

By Aislinn Laing – The Telegraph

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Cern scientists have hailed the first proton collisions at the Large Hadron Collider as a “great achievement”.

Scientists working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (Cern), hailed the development as a “great achievement” and a major step towards mimicking the conditions that followed the Big Bang to unlock the secrets of the universe.

The low-energy collisions came unexpectedly after researchers managed for the first time to circulate two beams around the 27-kilometre (16.8 mile) tunnel 100m beneath the Franco-Swiss border for the first time on Monday.

Physicists working at the facility told how there was standing room only to watch the results and cheers erupted with the first collisions.

The world’s largest machine was first launched in September 2008 amid an international fanfare which saw the world’s media invited to the facility to make sense of the epic experiment.

But just nine days later, the £5bn LHC suffered a spectacular failure from a bad electrical connection. Fifty-three of 1,624 large superconducting magnets – some of them 50 feet long – were damaged and had to be replaced.

Just weeks ago, an element of comedy was introduced after it emerged that further problems had been caused by a small piece of baguette dropped by a passing bird which landed in a piece of equipment on the surface above the accelerator ring.

After 14 months of repairs, the giant machine was restarted on Friday evening and the first beam started circulating in a clockwise direction around the tunnel about 10pm.

By Monday, the operators were able to move onto the next stage of circulating two beams with the hope of generating a collision. Early in the afternoon, the beams crossed for the first time, then a second time later in the evening.

At present, the beams are being circulated at low-intensity to minimise any damage in the event of an accident. The true test will come as scientists provoke high-energy atom particle collisions and begin to analyse in earnest the fall out from the proton collisions in the months to come.

Ultimately, the collider aims to create conditions like they were one trillionth to two trillionths of a second after the Big Bang, which scientists think marked the creation of the universe billions of years ago. Physicists also hope the collider will help them see and understand other suspected phenomena, such as dark matter, antimatter and supersymmetry.

Cern’s Director General Rolf Heuer said yesterday’s collisions were actually the side effect of the quick advances being made by the LHC during its startup phase.

He said that the scientists would be proceeding cautiously, just a driver would with the first production model of a new car.

“We’ll never accelerate this the first time with a kick-start to its maximum velocity,” he said. “It’s a great achievement to have come this far in so short a time. But we need to keep a sense of perspective – there’s still much to do before we can start the LHC physics programme.”

David Barney, a physicist working at Cern said: “It’s quite amazing really, we never expected this to go so quickly. We’re incredibly pleased, everything seems to be working excellently. The LHC hasn’t actually accelerated particles yet – it hasn’t made them go any faster than they were when they came into the tunnel.

“Cern intends to collide them at higher energy next week. It’s going incredibly well and we don’t really know what to expect next.”