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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Man appears free of HIV after stem cell transplant

By Jacquelyne Froeber

A 42-year-old HIV patient with leukemia appears to have no detectable HIV in his blood and no symptoms after a stem cell transplant from a donor carrying a gene mutation that confers natural resistance to the virus that causes AIDS, according to a report published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The patient underwent a stem cell transplant and since, has not  tested positive for HIV in his blood.

The patient underwent a stem cell transplant and since, has not tested positive for HIV in his blood.

"The patient is fine," said Dr. Gero Hutter of Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin in Germany. "Today, two years after his transplantation, he is still without any signs of HIV disease and without antiretroviral medication."

The case was first reported in November, and the new report is the first official publication of the case in a medical journal. Hutter and a team of medical professionals performed the stem cell transplant on the patient, an American living in Germany, to treat the man's leukemia, not the HIV itself.

However, the team deliberately chose a compatible donor who has a naturally occurring gene mutation that confers resistance to HIV. The mutation cripples a receptor known as CCR5, which is normally found on the surface of T cells, the type of immune system cells attacked by HIV.

The mutation is known as CCR5 delta32 and is found in 1 percent to 3 percent of white populations of European descent.

HIV uses the CCR5 as a co-receptor (in addition to CD4 receptors) to latch on to and ultimately destroy immune system cells. Since the virus can't gain a foothold on cells that lack CCR5, people who have the mutation have natural protection. (There are other, less common HIV strains that use different co-receptors.)

People who inherit one copy of CCR5 delta32 take longer to get sick or develop AIDS if infected with HIV. People with two copies (one from each parent) may not become infected at all. The stem cell donor had two copies.

While promising, the treatment is unlikely to help the vast majority of people infected with HIV, said Dr. Jay Levy, a professor at the University of California San Francisco, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. A stem cell transplant is too extreme and too dangerous to be used as a routine treatment, he said.

"About a third of the people die [during such transplants], so it's just too much of a risk," Levy said. To perform a stem cell transplant, doctors intentionally destroy a patient's immune system, leaving the patient vulnerable to infection, and then reintroduce a donor's stem cells (which are from either bone marrow or blood) in an effort to establish a new, healthy immune system.

Levy also said it's unlikely that the transplant truly cured the patient in this study. HIV can infect many other types of cells and may be hiding out in the patient's body to resurface at a later time, he said.

"This type of virus can infect macrophages (another type of white blood cell that expresses CCR5) and other cells, like the brain cells, and it could live a lifetime. But if it can't spread, you never see it-- but it's there and it could do some damage," he said. "It's not the kind of approach that you could say, 'I've cured you.' I've eliminated the virus from your body." 10 questions to ask a new partner before having sex

Before undergoing the transplant, the patient was also found to be infected with low levels of a type of HIV known as X4, which does not use the CCR5 receptor to infect cells. So it would seem that this virus would still be able to grow and damage immune cells in his body. However, following the transplant, signs of leukemia and HIV were absent.

"There is no really conclusive explanation why we didn't observe any rebound of HIV," Hutter said. "This finding is very surprising."

Hutter noted that one year ago, the patient had a relapse of leukemia and a second transplant from the same donor. The patient experienced complications from the procedure, including temporary liver problems and kidney failure, but they were not unusual and may occur in HIV-negative patients, he said.

Researchers including Hutter agree that the technique should not be used to treat HIV alone. "Some people may say, 'I want to do it,'" said Levy. A more logical -- and potentially safer -- approach would be to develop some type of CCR5-disabling gene therapy or treatment that could be directly injected into the body, said Levy.

Less invasive options to alter CCR5 could be on the horizon within the next five years, said Levy. "It's definitely the wave of the future," he said. "As we continue to follow this one patient, we will learn a lot."

One drug that's currently on the market that blocks CCR5 is called maraviroc (Selzentry). It was first approved in 2007 and is used in combination with other antiretroviral drugs. Who's most at risk for STDs?

In 2007, an estimated 2 million people died from AIDS, and 2.7 million people contracted HIV. More than 15 million women are infected worldwide. HIV/AIDS can be transmitted through sexual intercourse, sharing needles, pregnancy, breast-feeding, and/or blood transfusions with an infected person. should I do if the condom breaks?

"For HIV patients, this report is an important flicker of hope that antiretroviral therapy like HAART [highly active antiretroviral therapy] is not the endpoint of medical research," Hutter said.

Copyright Health Magazine 2009

'Beer mat house' sets new Guinness World Record


The creator of the world's largest house made entirely out of beer mats has sealed his Guinness World Record, by pulling it down.

Sven Goebel used over 300,000 coasters to create walls and furniture for the house.

But to claim the record title, he had to prove no adhesives had been used to hold his structure together.

Wendy Urquhart reports.

WePad comes out of tablet hiding, reveals its €450 price and August availability

There's no I in pad. Only we, of course. Yeah, we've been wanting to make that joke for awhile -- but in all seriousness, Neofonie, makers of the 11.6-inch WePad, held a press conference in Berlin today to reveal a bit more about its Linux-based slate. According to our German counterparts there will be two versions of the Intel Atom N450-powered tablet, which has two USB ports and an onboard webcam -- the 16GB / WiFi version will go for €450 and the 64GB / HD capable model for €569. We're a bit intrigued by the promised "full HD" support of the larger version, but Neofonie was quick to say that there is no NVIDIA inside. Hmm... Broadcom's Crystal HD, perhaps? The company wasn't willing to let reporters play with the early build of the multitouch device, but they did show off some videos of the Linux interface. You can watch a few after the break, but the live widget-based GUI looks extremely attractive and amongst other things, the browser supports Flash. It sort of hurts that we won't be able to get our hands on one until August, but we're happy to hear that the company, unlike some others, is taking the time to get things right.

Updated: We can't help but laugh at the fact that many sites are reporting that the WePad on display at yesterday's press conference was actually running Windows 7 underneath the Linux-looking UI. Apparently the company has more work to do than we originally thought.

sourceWePad, Engadget German

Work Smart: 3 Useful Things You Didn't Know Your Cameraphone Could Do

By: Gina Trapani


365diggsdigg Having a camera built into your phone isn't a big deal anymore. But when you combine that camera with the rich software applications that run on devices like the iPhone and Android, you get lots of cool new ways to put your cameraphone to good use.

Cameraphones are becoming a form of digital photographic memory, helping you remember what level you parked on or the label on that fantastic bottle of wine. Now, with the right apps, you can also use your phone to scan barcodes and store them, and even translate and recognize text.

Google Goggles is a brand new application for Android phones that lets you search the web with an image. You just point your phone at an artwork, a book, DVD, or CD cover, a landmark, or a logo, and Goggles will return search results for that item. You can even point your phone at someone's business card, and Goggles can automatically add that person's name, address, phone number, email address and web site to your address book. Eventually, Goggles will be able to translate written text as well. So you could point your phone at a sign or menu in another language and get back Google Translate's translation.

Newer smartphones have such good cameras they can double as barcode scanners. ShopSavvy is an app available for both the iPhone and Android that can scan a barcode on any product and give you prices from all over the web as well as retail outlets near you. Google Shopper is a similar application on Android: point your cameraphone at either a barcode or a book, CD, or DVD cover, and Shopper will show you prices and review of that product from around the web instantly.

A special kind of square bar code called QR Codes, are becoming a popular way to transmit information like web links and phone numbers directly to a phone without any typing. If your local coffee shop has a barcode in the window, for example, you could scan it on your phone and can instantly find reviews and more information without tapping a key.

Speaking of barcodes, one of the most clever uses of a camerphone I've ever seen is to take and store images of membership cards or big box store club cards that you use over and over again. Instead of crowding your keyring with your grocery, pharmacy, and movie rental place club card, take pictures of each one and store them in an image file on your phone. Then when you're checking into the gym or checking out at the cashier, you can simply scan your screen. There are also dedicated apps for organizing your cards into different categories, and even setting alerts to remind you if, say, there is a special sale on a certain day every month.

Gina Trapani is the author of Upgrade Your Life and founding editor of Work Smart appears every week on

Coca-Cola Making Chairs Out of 3 Million Recycled Coke Bottles

By: by jerryjamesstone

Coca-Cola is creating a new chair line from 3 million recycled Coke bottles.

The chair is a joint effort between Coke and leading furniture manufacturer Emeco (Electric Machine and Equipment Company). Emeco chairs have become a bit iconic after being featured on the hit TV show Sex and the City.

The company got an early start creating chairs for the U.S. Navy during World War II. In fact, the contract specified that the chair be able to withstand a torpedo blast to the side of a destroyer. That chair was made from 80-percent recycled aluminum with a painstaking 77-step process.

“The 111 Navy Chair is a reflection of our commitment to sustainability, constant innovation and originality in design,” said Kate Dwyer, Group Director, Worldwide Licensing, The Coca-Cola Company.

Each new chair uses at least 111 20-ounce recycled PET soda bottles diverted from Coke's recycling plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The plant happens to be the world's largest bottle-to-bottle recycling facility.

It's called the 111 Navy Chair which is a play on the chair's original name--106 Navy Chair--and the quantity of Coke bottles used. The chair will cost $230 and is available in six colors: Coca-Cola Red, Snow, Flint, Persimmon, Grass, and Charcoal. That price is about half of the original Navy Chair.

“When Coca-Cola approached me with this project I jumped on it,” said Gregg Buchbinder, Chairman of Emeco. “I was excited about the impact of reusing the PET from about three million plastic bottles a year. That’s a lot of bottles and a lot of chairs.”

Like this article? Follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook.

Source: MNN

15 Clever McDonald’s Advertisements

Published by Nattyb

McDonald’s Advertising

My McDonald’s experiences are so few and far between these days that I tend to cherish each one. It’s like I mentally prepare for the food hangover I know I’m about to incur. Man it tastes so good going down and literally 30 minutes later you want to crawl up in a ball and kill yourself.

Still though, people are “lovin it” day in and day out as Mickey D’s continues to churn out burgers and fries. And not only do they still whip out the dollar menu and food at a fast rate, they’ve kept up with their ad campaigns.

In fact here are 15 creative McDonald’s ads you might enjoy

Newspaper Sandwich

McDonald’s Advertising

McDonald’s Napkins

McDonald’s Advertising

The Bus Stop

McDonald’s Advertising

Free Coffee Hourglass

McDonald’s Advertising

Sundial Billboard

McDonald’s Advertising


McDonald’s Advertising

The Real Milkshake

McDonald’s Advertising

Pie Billboard

McDonald’s Advertising

Free Wi-Fi

McDonald’s Advertising

Freshness Box Salad

McDonald’s Advertising

Nice Try Mom

McDonald’s Advertising

Bus Shelter

McDonald’s Advertising

McDonald’s Reopening

McDonald’s Advertising


McDonald’s Advertising

McDonald’s Carrots

McDonald’s Advertising

Netflix on Nintendo Wii is Now Available to Everyone


Do you have a Nintendo Wii and a Netflix account? If so, you can now stream Netflix Watch Instantly’s entire library of TV and film content to your TV using your console’s Wi-Fi connection. You’ll need to order a disc from Netflix to do it, but that disc is shipping to anyone who wants it now; previously it was available to only a select few.

Log into your account and go to, then tap the “Send the FREE Disc!” button and your disc will be on its way, just like any other Netflix disc. You’ll get to keep this one because you’ll need to put it into the console any time you want to watch movies online.

Sony’s PlayStation 3 uses a similar method, but Netflix is integrated into the software of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console — no disc required. Also note that unlike those machines the Wii is only capable of standard definition video, so you won’t be able to enjoy Netflix in high definition.

That won’t matter to millions of Netflix users, however. The Wii is more popular than either the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360 despite its lack of high definition; some people just don’t care that much about HD. Netflix’s web player doesn’t do HD either, so it’s not like Wii owners are missing out on something essential to the Netflix experience.

Update: We’ll note as some of our readers have that Netflix streaming on the Wii is not available to users outside the U.S. We didn’t mention this initially because Netflix does not offer any service at all outside the U.S., but clarification never hurts. Netflix has announced that it plans to launch streaming service in one other country later this year, but further details haven’t been revealed yet.

Approved! Opera Has Made It Into The App Store

By: Brad McCarty
Brad is the editor of TNW's Google Channel, and a music junkie based in Nashville, TN. Find him on Twitter.

Opera just announced that their popular Mini mobile browser is now finally available for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Opera has been tearing up the mobile browsing market, with more than 50 million users at present, and millions more now sure to come.

Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software is quoted as saying “”We are delighted to offer iPhone and iPod touch users a great browsing experience with the Opera Mini App”.

More info, screenshots and a video after the jump.

For those of you pinching pennies, or on a data package that isn’t unlimited, you’ll be pleased to know that Opera uses compression methods that allow you to view a full website, yet download noticeably less data. This also serves as great information for those unlucky enough to be stuck on AT&T’s Edge connection, which is notoriously slow with large data transmissions.

So get to the App Store, grab the free Opera Mini (it will be available in the next 24 hours) and let us know what you think of it. We expect to see some great comments about this!

01 Speed Dial Approved! Opera Has Made It Into The App Store 02  Tabs NYT Approved! Opera Has Made It Into The App Store

What’s that? You want a video demo? Why sure!

Brad McCarty
Brad is the editor of TNW's Google Channel, and a music junkie based in Nashville, TN. Find him on Twitter.

Only Aliens Could Survive Through Torture Like This


Some think animals who live without oxygen are proof of alien existence, but how about little creatures who can be dried out, frozen, and boiled only to be resurrected with a few drops of water? Are those our next overlords?

The creatures in the video are rotifers—tiny and resilient little beasts. Their ability to survive through even the most extreme conditions makes scientists daydream about how life might travel to and from the far ends of space.

As those scientists daydream, I'm having nightmares of alien invasions.

Send an email to Rosa Golijan, the author of this post, at