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How did doctors cure leukaemia with HIV?

AFP
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The AIDS virus magnified 350,000 times, with a scanning electron microscopephoto: AP
The AIDS virus magnified 350,000 times, with a scanning electron microscopephoto: AP

U.S. doctors say they have saved a seven-year-old girl who was close to dying from leukaemia with a pioneering use of an unlikely ally: a modified form of the HIV virus.

After fighting her disease with chemotherapy for almost two years and suffering two relapses, the young girl “faced grim prospects,” doctors at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia said.

So in February this year they agreed to take her on in an experimental program that fought fire with fire. Helped by a genetically altered HIV virus -- stripped of its devastating properties that cause AIDS -- doctors turned the girl's own immune cells into a superior force able to rout the “aggressive” leukemia.

The treatment of Emily Whitehead was one of the very first of its kind and cannot yet be considered “a magic bullet,” the hospital said. But in Emily's case, it apparently worked completely.AFP


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