Hope as man 'free of HIV virus' after treatment

Second man seems to be free of AIDS virus after transplant

Second man seems to be free of AIDS virus after transplant

About 37 million people worldwide now have HIV, and the AIDS virus has killed about 35 million since taking off in the 1980s.

The patient in the new case is from the United Kingdom but has not been identified.

The London patient has been in remission for 18 months since he stopped taking antiretroviral drugs. Gupta prefers to say the man is instead in long-term remission, in part because the team hasn't looked at tissues other than the patient's blood.

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

"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 through something called graft versus host disease".

To test whether he was truly in HIV-1 remission, the London patient disrupted his usual antiretroviral therapy. He is tested often, and his HIV viral load is undetectable.

Brown, aka the "Berlin Patient, ' was "cured" of HIV infection via chemotherapy, radiation, and genetically-engineered stem cells in 2010".

The Berlin patient was actually an American (real name: Timothy Ray Brown) diagnosed with HIV while living in Germany.

For only the second time, doctors have announced they have "effectively cured" a patient with HIV using stem cells, sending the virus into "sustained remission".

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With the right kind of donor, his doctors figured, the London patient might get a bonus beyond treating his cancer: a possible HIV cure.

"This is a big deal", says Sharon Lewin, who heads the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne, Australia.

Doctors said a London man with HIV has become the second known adult in the world to be apparently cleared of the infection since the global epidemic began decades ago, giving hope for a potential cure for AIDS.

"This research further confirms the promising HIV curative effects of bone marrow transplantation from the relatively few persons who have the HIV-resistant cells known as CCR5/delta32 hematopoietic stem cells".

Graham Cooke, a professor of infectious diseases at Imperial College London, said in a statement to the Science Media Centre that the new study is "encouraging".

The case was published online Monday by the journal Nature and will be presented at an HIV conference in Seattle.

"We haven't cured HIV, but (this) gives us hope that it's going to be feasible one day to eliminate the virus", she said.

Dr. Timothy Henrich, an associate professor of medicine and physician scientist at University of California, San Francisco's Department of Medicine, also noted that the London patient's treatment "is not a scalable, safe or economically viable strategy to induce HIV remission". Although the interventions that the two patients received could only be used on a tiny fraction of the 37 million HIV-infected people worldwide, their stories point to cure strategies that could be more widely applicable.

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