GOOD NEWS Researchers Use HIV Virus to Help Cure Cancer
Since its discovery 30 years ago, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has been one of the world's most feared and researched diseases.
Now, some cancer patients have been cured thanks to, of all things, the HIV virus.
Bryan Llenas reported on "America's News Headquarters" about this breakthrough experimental treatment.
Llenas said that so far 125 patients with acute or chronic leukemia or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma have received this treatment, and more than two-thirds have gone into a full or partial remission, including 36 children.
Llenas reported that scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine are reprogramming billions of a patient's cells to fight off their own specific cancer, and much of it is credited to the HIV virus.
According to Llenas, researchers are only using the part of the virus that allows it to sneak in to and infect white blood cells.
Dr. David Porter explained that it's not actually HIV and patients can't get HIV, but it's a way of bringing genetic material into the cells that will reprogram them to fight a specific type of cancer.
Llenas said that this can offer an alternative to dangerous bone marrow transplants, as it did for Dr. Doug Olson.
In 2010, half of Olson's bone marrow was cancerous and he was running out of options. He signed up for the therapy and in less than four weeks he was in full remission.
Llenas said that there are still unanswered questions, however, such as if this treatment will work for other cancers.
"But one thing is certain," Llenas said. "Dr. Porter says the future of medicine is now."
Watch more above.