The research community was abuzz with the recent news an HIV patient is in long-term remission from the deadly disease. For eighteen months he hasn’t been taking the antiretroviral drugs that had kept him alive. What you probably didn’t hear about was this breakthrough was possible because of adult stem cells, not those attained from aborted human embryos. While this development is truly amazing, its impact is limited. The donor who contributes the stem cells must have a rare, HIV-resistant gene, a mutation provided by both parents. So, the donor must be both a genetic match to the HIV patient and have the gene mutation. Still, it’s an exciting example of how adult stem cells have made the embryonic approach an antiquated theory.
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