But even though this particular procedure doesn't offer a new standard of care for AIDS patients worldwide, it offers a lot more than just hope (although hope is nice). For one thing, researchers now have a clear path to a cure. If the steps taken by Hutter and Thiel can be refined, simplified, and made less risky, they could become a viable protocol for thousands of other people with AIDS. Eventually, this might entail bone-marrow transplants in which not all of the body's immune cells are killed, or "snipping" the segment of DNA that codes for HIV receptors out out of blood cells and transplanting them into AIDS patients. Eventually, patients' own cells could actually be engineered to resist HIV. These advances are probably decades away, but this breakthrough is confirmation that, once they're made, they could amount to something big.