HIV Genes Successfully Edited Out of Immune Cells

Researchers from Temple University have used the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tool to clear out the entire HIV-1 genome from a patient’s infected immune cells. It’s a remarkable achievement that could have profound implications for the treatment of AIDS and other retroviruses.

Source: HIV Genes Successfully Edited Out of Immune Cells

It’s a little early to break out the champagne, but while medication for HIV has done wonders – HIV is notoriously good at hiding in the body.  That’s where news like this brings hope that HIV positive people could one day be truly cured.

After I Receive a Blood Transfusion, When Does that Blood Physiologically Become Mine?

Functionally, it remains the same.

Prior to the transfusion, tests for cell surface antigens on the donor and recipient red blood cells (RBCs) would be done to ensure no differences are present that might cause a transfusion reaction.

Both the donor blood and the recipient blood have the same oxygen-carrying properties, so from a blood-draw standpoint it all just looks like blood. In most cases, the transfused blood is also a very small part of the body’s total blood volume, and so any differences between it and the rest of the body will be nearly undetectable in your average blood draw. Of course, if there are blood type mismatches, you would see reactions between donor blood and recipient blood, but barring that, everything would be kosher. Finally, the life of red blood cells is about 120 days, and in most transfusions, the transfused blood is completely absent from the system within 60 days.

One interesting side effect can happen in the event of massive transfusion that replaces an incredibly large volume of blood. If the volume is large enough to essentially replace the patient’s own blood, then you can get something called “dilutional thrombocytopenia” since transfused blood has platelets that aren’t fully functional. This can be corrected with further transfusions, but it’s something that might actually show up in a blood draw.

What would happen if a DNA test were performed on your blood after a transfusion?

Nothing special.  Tranfused blood (meaning RBCs) doesn’t carry DNA – it is essentially saline and RBCs.  Only a minimal amount of liquid (I don’t know the composition) is added to maintain pH and osmolarity so that the RBCs aren’t destroyed.

Blood that is routinely donated is then prepared in a way that removes >99% of white blood cells (the only thing in your blood to contain DNA) and the plasma. So, really, a blood transfusion is usually an erythrocyte transfusion.

However when someone has a bone marrow (or organ) transplant, all of the blood cells created from that point (IE: white blood cells) carry the DNA of the donor, not the recipient. They never really become the recipient’s.  Yes, DNA confusion has happened.

What happens if you put the wrong blood type in to someone?

The immune system will recognize it as a foreign object and destroy it, the same way it would an agent of illness like a pathogenic bacteria. Different blood types have different antigen markers on them (which is what the letter and +/- represent), and your body will attack blood that has the wrong markers. Type O blood lacks antigen markers, which is why it’s the universal donor, while AB blood has both making it the universal acceptor (the immune system is used to all the antigen markers).

Rabbit Virus Improves Bone Marrow Transplants, Kills Some Cancer Cells

University of Florida Health researchers have discovered that a rabbit virus can deliver a one-two punch, killing some kinds of cancer cells while eliminating a common and dangerous complication of bone marrow transplants.

For patients with blood cancers such as leukemia and multiple myeloma, a bone marrow transplant can be both curative and perilous. It replenishes marrow lost to disease or chemotherapy but raises the risk that newly transplanted white blood cells will attack the recipient’s body.

Now researchers say the myxoma virus, found in rabbits, can do double duty, quelling the unwanted side effects of a bone marrow transplant and destroying cancer cells.

Source: Rabbit virus improves bone marrow transplants, kills some cancer cells

Why is it not a treatment?  This is likely preliminary findings on white blood cells in a petri dish.  It needs a delivery mechanism, dosage calculate and long term study…  It’s like vitamin C – eating high concentrations just gets filtered out, so there’s tests about injection to bypass safeguards.

Guide to Decoding Your Blood Test Results

Spoiler alert: They don’t mention INR.

Apart from the puzzling jargon, the design of bloodwork lab reports is dismal. Wonderful makeovers have been envisioned, but until they’re in use, we’re stuck deciphering highly technical and administrative-looking documents that make tax forms look like an ecard from mom.

But have no fear. You can become literate in your blood test results. Our guide isn’t a comprehensive glossary of technical terms, but it provides basic definitions and a better overall visual sense of how the information on a typical blood test report is presented and organized so you can interpret your blood work with confidence.

Source: The Ultimate Guide to Decoding Your Blood Test Results

Hypochonriacs: Just because something is outside the normal range, does not mean its something to worry about. A lot of times things will be transient and things are often technically abnormal when they aren’t actually clinically significant. For example some people have very low blood pressure, but unless you’re having symptoms of low blood pressure most doctors would not give it a second though.

The article mentions hangry, which has been covered before.