Some big news out of the HIV/AIDS research world: Dr. Timothy Henrich (above), a medical researcher with Harvard Medical School and Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, announced today that two of his HIV-positive patients showed no trace of the virus after receiving stem-cell transplants. Henrich's study was supported by amfAR, the international HIV/AIDS nonprofit, which issued a press release with further details:
The patients had been on long-term antiretroviral therapy for HIV when they developed lymphoma. To treat the cancer, the patients underwent reduced intensity chemotherapy followed by stem-cell transplants. Since the transplants, Dr. Henrich has been unable to find any evidence of HIV infection.
With support from amfAR, he conducted a clinical study in which his research team withdrew the patients’ antiretroviral therapy and performed several sophisticated assays looking for signs of viral rebound in blood and other tissues. One patient has been off treatment with no detectable virus for approximately 15 weeks, and the second patient for seven weeks, with similar results. However, it is too soon to draw any definitive long-term conclusions.
Only one person has ever been 'cured' of HIV: Timothy Brown, also known as 'the Berlin patient,' who has been HIV-free for five years after receiving similar bone marrow transplants to the two new patients. The marrow used for Brown's transplants, however, came from an individual with a specific genetic mutation that makes humans almost completely resistant to HIV infection. The two Boston patients did not receive donations from individuals with this mutation.
As amfAR notes, it is unclear at this point whether or not the virus could return in the two patients over time. A previous patient in a different National Institutes of Health study went 50 days without treatment before experiencing what is known as 'viral rebound'; both of Dr. Henrich's patients are at or past this threshold. Further monitoring of the two patients will undoubtedly be needed to determine the long-term effects of stem-cell transplants for HIV-positive individuation.
"These findings clearly provide important new information that might well alter the current thinking about HIV and gene therapy," amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost said in a statement. "While stem-cell transplantation is not a viable option for people with HIV on a broad scale because of its costs and complexity, these new cases could lead us to new approaches to treating, and ultimately even eradicating, HIV."
(Photo Lai Seng Sin via CT Post)
Last weekend's Toronto Pride included a significant milestone for the city's trans community, with a planned Trans March taking place for the first time along the main, official parade route, reports Demotix:
The 2013 Trans March as part of Pride Toronto, was finally 'permitted' to march down Yonge Street, having been relegated to Church Street in past years leaving many in the community feeling sidelined by the Pride Toronto organization.
This years theme for the Trans March was "Celebration, Commemoration, Demonstration by and for the Trans Community" and there was plenty to celebrate. The march which had been relegated to march down Church Street in the past was finally 'permitted' by Pride Toronto to march down Yonge. The other two major parades over the Pride weekend, including the Dyke March and main Sunday parade, both have their routes on Yonge Street.
In previous years, trans demonstraters have defied the Church Street route and instead marched down Yonge Street to protest what was seen by some in the community as a lack of visilbility for trans people and issues in Toronto Pride. On Pride Toronto's website, the organization wrote that it was "pleased and honoured to be marching with Trans* March 2013, on Yonge St for the first time, thanks to the efforts of Trans* communities."
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law banning adoption by foreign same-sex couples, the AP reports:
The new law prohibits adoption by same-sex foreign couples whose homeland recognizes their union as marriage, as well as by single people or unmarried couples from those countries.
A Kremlin statement said the measure is intended to guarantee children a "harmonious" upbringing and protect them from "complexes, emotional suffering and stress."
On Sunday, Putin signed an oppressive law banning "gay propaganda".
Signorile: Rebrand ENDA "The Freedom to Work Act".
Madonna masks up for Harper's Bazaar.
Robin Thicke's thickness.
Barbara Boxer seeks full extension of social security benefits: "All federal agencies should endeavor to provide swift and equal access to programs and benefits for all same-sex couples, regardless of their state of residence, using existing administrative authorities."
Edward Snowden requests asylum in 21 countries.
Same-sex couples flood immigration offices for visas: "The process includes filling out forms, getting a medical exam for the spouse applying for the green card, and showing that the foreign spouse won't be a financial burden to the U.S., Jobson said. The foreign spouse also has to prove that he or she entered the country legally. Then, in about three months, the couple is called in for an interview, in which they have to show that they have a "bona fide" marriage, in that they share finances, or insurance, or children. If approved, the foreign spouse will soon receive a green card in the mail. After three years, the green card holder can apply for U.S. citizenship, as long as the couple is still married and living together."
Harry Styles mobbed.
Rich Juzwiak: portraits of four bisexuals.
Paula Deen cites Prop 8 ruling to defend herself against racism lawsuit.
DOMA ruling gives native Arizonan William Kapfer hope: "...within minutes of SCOTUS’ magnificent overturn of DOMA, I flipped my Facebook status to 'Engaged' after a romantic, mid-air, IM marriage proposal from my beloved. While a flood of congratulations messages rushed in, I actually let myself entertain the real possibility that he and I could one day retire in our cherished Tucson as a couple of old married farts."
Cracker Barrel being sued by gay employee: "Bostick's lawsuit says he experienced harassment and discrimination because of his sexual orientation, including one instance when an associate manager told other staff that a customer might be 'afraid he'll catch AIDS' from Bostick. Bostick says he told superiors about the harassment and they didn't take action."
jObs gets a rainbow poster.
Bloomberg: IRS must decide whether to recognize the same-sex marriages of taxpayers whose home states don’t consider the unions legal. "The IRS will make those determinations under a congressional and political microscope because of the extra attention it gave to small-government groups’ applications for tax-exempt status. The IRS has also been stretched thinner because of its expanding responsibilities under the 2010 health-care law and federal budget cuts. Agency employees will be on unpaid furlough July 5 as the result of the budget cuts."
Liam Hemsworth to play Edward Snowden?
The last lesson we learn from our pets.
Singapore politican Vincent Wijeysingha comes out: "On his Facebook page last week, he became the first Singaporean politician to come out of the closet, and he is advocating for the law to be scrapped. He told The Associated Press on Monday that although the government resists decriminalizing homosexuality,'society will eventually overtake it on this question.'"
Here's where Alcide lives.
Health minister sanctions forced HIV tests in Greece. "In a statement LGBT campaign group HOMOphonia-Thessaloniki Pride said: 'Public health is not protected by the castigation of people who are HIV positive, but through the implementation of integrated programmes against HIV/AIDS, through the introduction of sex education in schools, and regular public campaigns.'"
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee asks FEC to recognize rights of married same-sex couples on campaign donations: "In its advisory opinion request, the DSCC said the high court’s ruling gives married same-sex couples new rights under federal election law, including the ability to make a single campaign contribution from a joint bank account if only one spouse has earned the income. Under FEC rules, a federal campaign committee that receives a single check from a married couple credits half to one spouse and half to the other. That allows each spouse to donate the maximum allowed under law, even if only one earns income."
Anderson Cooper took a moment on his show to apologize for dropping all sense of decorum last week when Cher made her presence felt in NYC. His staff then felt the need to embarrass him even further with the above graphic.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
The soundtrack to your 4th of July weekend has arrived in this seasonal mash-up from DJ Earworm. Which of these hits is your vote for song of the summer?
Armin van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie - This Is What It Feels Like
Bastille - Pompeii
Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams- Get Lucky
Demi Lovato - Heart Attack
Icona Pop feat .Charlie XCX - I Love It
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton - Can't Hold Us
Pitbull feat. Christina Aguilera - Feel This Moment
Rihanna feat. David Guetta - Right Now
Robin Thicke feat. T.I. & Pharrell Williams
Will.i.am feat. Justin Bieber
Zedd feat. Foxes - Clarity
Watch and listen, AFTER THE JUMP...