Second Patient Cleared of HIV After Stem-Cell Therapy

Stem cell patient 'cured' of HIV | News

Experts hope it can eventually lead researchers to a safer and more cost-effective strategy.

However, following a stem cell transplant in 2016 after he had developed Hodgkin's lymphoma, the HIV virus was no longer in the system.

However the virus did not return in the London patient's case and there is still no trace of the virus after 18 months off the drugs.

In people who have the CCR5 mutation, the virus is unable to enter cells and thus can not cause infection.

Brown said he would like to meet the London patient and would encourage him to go public because "it's been very useful for science and for giving hope to HIV-positive people, to people living with HIV", he told The Associated Press Monday.

Gupta described his patient as "functionally cured" and "in remission", but he gave a caution: "It's too early to say he's cured".

As of 2017, there were approximately 36.9 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS.

The idea is to use an initial drug to flush out HIV that is hiding from the immune system and then use standard antiretrovirals to kill the newly-exposed virus. He was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 and started taking drugs to control the infection in 2012.

While a second patient experiencing HIV viral remission with a slightly less toxic cancer treatment is certainly encouraging progress, an 18-month remission does not equal a cure.

The patient remained on ARV for 16 months after the transplant, at which point the clinical team and the patient made a decision to interrupt ARV therapy to test if the patient was truly in HIV-1 remission.

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According to the United Nations by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

Even so, the bone-marrow transplant that appears to have eliminated the virus is too risky, complicated and expensive to serve as a widespread cure. Over the three years after the initial transplant, and despite discontinuing antiretroviral therapy, researchers could not detect HIV in Brown's blood.

When people take the medicine that keeps HIV at bay, they are not able to pass the virus to others, he said. Also important: as a report in The New York Times pointed out, the London Patient was not the first attempt to replicate the success with the Berlin Patient, only the first that seems to have not failed.

After the bone marrow transplant, the London patient remained on ARV for 16 months, at which point ARV treatment was stopped.

In the decade between the two successful cases there were other similar operations, but the patients died of cancer before it could be determined if Brown's case was an aberration.

"We now have reason to believe that the Berlin patient was not a one-off case. meaning it is possible to almost, or even completely, eliminate HIV from an infected person", he said.

That didn't happen with the London patient.

For a second time, a man identified only as the "London patient" was reported to be cured of HIV-12 years after Timothy Ray Brown, also known as "Berlin patient", became the first known man to be cleared of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. "Two factors are likely at play: The new bone marrow is resistant to HIV, and also, the new bone marrow is actively eliminating any HIV-infected cells". One of them is former San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, who was diagnosed 22 years ago, when people were still dying from AIDS.

"Continuing our research, we need to understand if we could knock out this receptor in people with HIV, which may be possible with gene therapy", said professor Gupta.

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