Optimism, Caution Date: March 4, 1996
(The Scientist, Vol:10, #5, pg.3 & 6, March 4, 1996)
(Copyright ©, The Scientist, Inc.)
When Oakland, Calif., AIDS activist-now patient-turned-guinea-pig-Jeff Getty received baboon bone marrow cells in December, doctors gave the daring cross-species experiment little chance of working. Now, three months later, scientists are debating not only whether or not the procedure was a success, but also if it was appropriate in the first place. In question also is what the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which approved the procedure, should do next.
UNDAUNTED: University of Pittsburgh researcher Suzanne T. Iidstad plans to apply for FDA permission to perform another baboon transplant. To date, there are few signs that the baboon marrow cells transplanted into the bone marrow of the 38-year-old Getty, who was dying of AIDS, have "engrafted," or taken hold in his immune system. Because baboons are resistant to HIV,...