HIV cure: British patient becomes second person to beat virus
HIV cure: British patient becomes second person to beat virus
Has a second person with HIV been cured?
06 March, 2019, 01:43
Timothy Brown, the "Berlin patient," was given two transplants and underwent total body irradiation to treat leukemia, while the British patient received just one transplant and less intensive chemotherapy.
The London patient received stem cells from a donor with this specific genetic mutation, which made him resistant to HIV as well.
"The so-called London Patient has now been off ART for 19 months with no viral rebound which is impressive, but I would still be closely monitoring his viral load", said Lewin, who is also co-chair of the International AIDS Society's Towards an HIV Cure initiative.
The mutation that gives a person HIV resistance is incredibly rare, only appearing in a tiny fraction of the population.
"Until then, the emphasis needs to remain on prompt diagnosis of HIV and initiation of life-long combination antiretroviral therapy", Freedman said in a statement. The procedure took place nearly three years ago.
"Even if we're not going to cure the world with stem cell transplants", Johnston says, "it's important to have a collection of people who've been cured so we can put together that information to figure out how we can do a cure more broadly".
The UK researchers say it may be possible to use gene therapy to target the CCR5 receptor in people with HIV, now they know the Berlin patient's recovery was not a one-off. The Guardina Newspaper in United Kingdom also reported that a London patient with HIV has become the second person ever to be free of the virus after a bone marrow transplant, raising hopes of a cure for Aids.
Brown sat in the front row, stood for a round of applause and shook hands with lead researcher Ravindra Gupta of University College London after Gupta presented details on the London patient.
He said his team planned to use these findings to explore potential HIV treatment strategies.
"If we can understand better why the procedure works in some patients and not others, we will be closer to our ultimate goal of curing HIV".
AIDS researchers have known about the this CCR5 mutation for years and have tried to think of ways to exploit it as a treatment for HIV.
AIDS virus now affects some 37 million people globally.
A color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph shows HIV particles (orange) infecting a T cell, one of the white blood cells that play a central role in the immune system. So far, 38 people living with HIV have received bone marrow transplants from one of these donors, and their progress is being tracked.
The London patient and Brown may point to ways to judge the success of a potential cure short of stopping ARVs and seeing whether the virus returns, says Rowena Johnston, who directs research at amfAR.
The latest case "shows the cure of Timothy Brown was not a fluke and can be recreated", said Dr. Keith Jerome of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle who had no role. However, because HIV remained undetectable, he is still considered clinically cured of his infection, according to his doctors.
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