Saturday, 23 March, 2019

'London patient' is second case ever of HIV remission

London HIV Patient Becomes World's Second Man To Be Cured Of AIDS Virus Has a second person with HIV been cured?
Celia Hoffman | 05 March, 2019, 09:24

The transplant changed the London patient's immune system, apparently giving him the donor's HIV resistance.

Millions of people infected with HIV around the world keep the disease in check with so-called antiretroviral therapy (ARV), but the treatment does not rid patients of the virus.

The title is similar to the first known case of a cured HIV-positive patient.

The man, who has been dubbed the "London patient", is the second person to receive the treatment. "I think that finding a scalable cure that is safe and can be applied to a vast majority of individuals living with HIV is definitely attainable, but we have a lot more work to go".

The news about the London patient also encourages Paula Cannon at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The surprise success now confirms that a cure for HIV infection is possible, if hard, researchers said. He asked to remain anonymous, but told The New York Times hearing he could be cured of cancer and HIV was "overwhelming" and "surreal", as he "never thought that there would be a cure during my lifetime".

Nearly 1 million people die annually from HIV-related causes.

The breakthrough has come via bone marrow transplants that were meant to cure cancer in the patients, not the HIV virus.

Although the patient has been in remission for 18 months, the authors of the British study published on Tuesday in the science journal Nature cautioned it was too early to say he had been cured.

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In 2016, when he was very sick with cancer, doctors made a decision to seek a transplant match for him.

Brown had leukemia, and after chemotherapy failed to stop it, needed two bone-marrow transplants.

Although the London patient was not as ill as Brown had been after the transplant, the procedure worked about as well: The transplant destroyed the cancer without harmful side effects.

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. To do this in others, exact match donors would have to be found in the tiny proportion of people - majority of northern European descent - who have the CCR5 mutation that makes them resistant to the virus. The London patient, in contrast, had a milder regimen that targeted his lymphoma.

Gupta, now at Cambridge University, treated the London patient when he was working at University College London.

The scientists are describing the case as a long-term remission publically, while most experts are calling it a cure, the paper reported. "It shows the Berlin patient was not just a one-off, that this is a rational approach in limited circumstances", Daniel Kuritzkes, chief of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital (who was not involved in the study), told the paper.

"I am an optimist because I'm a scientist and vice versa", Henrich said. "Everybody believed after the Berlin patient that you needed to almost die basically to cure HIV, but now maybe you don't".

"At the moment, the only way to treat HIV is with medications that suppress the virus, which people need to take for their entire lives", said Gupta.

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