Can Your Own Stem Cells Kill HIV?

This month, thousands of people will take the test — the HIV test. June 27th was national HIV testing day. Despite 30 years of research, there is still no cure for the one-million people in the U.S. living with HIV and aids. 56-thousand more will find out they're HIV positive this year. But now scientists are looking inside a patient's own body for the solution. As Robyn Haines reports, stem cells could be the key to killing HIV. Researchers at UCLA are the first in the world to use human blood stem cells to kill HIV. One doctor says, “the thought would be if you could replenish their immune systems with new functional T-cells, you might be able to combat the virus.” Scientists would take blood stem cells from the HIV patient — add a new gene — and put them back into the patient. A specialized organ in the immune system called the thymus turns them into T-cells, which naturally fight infection. There, they mature, target and destroy the infected HIV cells. In animals, the treatment hit the bulls-eye. But some fear it's too early to call stem cells a cure-all for anything. Doctors hope if the vaccine proves successful in HIV, it could also be used to fight many other viral diseases.