HIV Eliminated By Bone Marrow Transplant In Cancer Patient : Shots

Therapy had an early success with Timothy Ray Brown who is 12 years post-transplant and still free of HIV. — Dawn Newspaper  File

Therapy had an early success with Timothy Ray Brown who is 12 years post-transplant and still free of HIV. — Dawn Newspaper File

The patient received the bone-marrow transplant in May 2016.

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

Though there are some differences, the London case mirrors that of the Berlin Patient, Timothy Brown, who has remained free of HIV and off ART since a bone marrow transplant 12 years ago and, until now, was the only adult considered to be cured of HIV.

Experts who study AIDS say the success of the Berlin patient and the London patient is very important. His transplant beat cancer without any threatening side-effects, and the transplanted immune cells that were made resistant to HIV appeared to have replaced all the HIV-vulnerable cells in his blood.

He has now been in remission for 18 months after his antiretroviral drugs were discontinued, researchers said.

Gero Hütter, the German hematologist who treated Timothy Ray Brown, said: "By repeating the procedure in another patient, there is more evidence that the "Berlin patient" is not a sole exception".

However, now that science has determined that the earlier Berlin patient's HIV cure wasn't merely a odd fluke, it could open up the doors to new gene-level treatments for the disease.

In addition to being cured of HIV, he was also cured of Hodgkin's lymphoma, by receiving a bone-marrow transplant from the donor with the gene mutation.

They will present what they have learned so far in the next days in the journal Nature, and at a medical conference in the USA city of Seattle, Washington. Brown had to have a second stem cell transplant when his leukemia returned.

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"I think that one thing we've learned is finding a scalable, economically feasible cure, or HIV remission, is going to be hard", said Timothy Henrich, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.

CCR5 is the most commonly used receptor by HIV-1 - the virus strain of HIV that dominates around the world - to enter cells.

The London Patient has chosen to remain anonymous. And now, a year and a half after he last took antiretroviral medications, the London patient is no longer showing signs of the virus. There are now 37 million people infected with HIV, 21 million are on antiretroviral treatment, but drug-resistant strains are becoming more widespread.

He later developed cancer and agreed to undergo a bone-marrow transplant for treatment.

For the second time in the history of HIV infection, a patient seems to have been cured completely of the infection which eventually causes AIDS.

This is the second time a patient treated this way has ended up in remission from HIV.

"Although this is not a viable large-scale strategy for a cure, it does represent a critical moment", said Anton Pozniak, president of the International AIDS Society.

Still, HIV has proven before to be a wily shapeshifter, and except for Brown, people who previously went in remission for various reasons for a year or so have always seen their virus start to replicate again. In both cases, the donors' stem cells immediately began to attack the patients' immune cells. Worldwide, an estimated 36.9 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2017.

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