HIV may have been cured by stem-cell transplants
Two cancer patients in Boston who were also infected with HIV have no trace of the virus after receiving stem-cell transplants, suggesting they may have been cured of the AIDS-causing infection.
The two patients, treated at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, stopped HIV treatment after the transplants, which in other patients has opened the door for the virus to come roaring back. In one patient there was no sign of the virus 15 weeks after stopping treatment, while the other has gone seven weeks without HIV rebounding, according to results presented Wednesday at the International AIDS Society’s meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The researchers led by Timothy Henrich of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital said it’s too early to conclude the two men have been cured, and said the virus may be lingering in their brains or gut. Still, their cases are similar to that of Timothy Brown, the so-called Berlin patient, who was the first person to be cured of HIV after getting a bone marrow transplant for leukemia in 2007.
Most Americans approve Supreme Court’s decision
Most Americans think the Supreme Court got it right last week in decisions that bolstered same-sex marriage, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The court in a 5 to 4 ruling struck down a key component of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which withheld federal recognition and benefits from same-sex couples who are married in states where it is legal. The poll found that 56 percent approve of the ruling “providing legally married same-sex couples with the same federal benefits given to other married couples,” while 41 percent disapprove.
By a smaller margin, 51 percent to 45 percent, Americans say they approve of the court’s action on a case involving same-sex marriage in California. The justices said proponents of Prop. 8 did not have legal standing to challenge a lower court’s decision that it was unconstitutional.
Pair who shunned doctors convicted of homicide
A mother and father who prayed instead of seeking medical help as their daughter died were properly convicted of homicide, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in a decision that dramatically limits legal immunity for parents who turn to God rather than science to heal their children.
The decision marks the first time a Wisconsin court has addressed criminal culpability in a prayer treatment case where a child died. The court ruled 6-1 that the state’s immunity provisions for prayer treatment parents protect them from child abuse charges but nothing else, opening the door to a host of other counts.
“No one reading the treatment-through-prayer provision should expect protection from criminal liability under any other statute,” Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson wrote for the majority.
Lawmakers approve bill that might end tuition
The Oregon Legislature this week gave its final approval to a bill that might someday allow students to attend public university without paying tuition.
The concept, called Pay It Forward, calls for students to pay a small percentage of their future income into an education fund to support the next generation of students.
— From news service reports