A Second Person May Have Just Been Cured of HIV

London man becomes second in world to be cured of HIV

Second patient ever in HIV remission after stem cell transplant

The new case report comes more than 10 years after the first case, known as the "Berlin patient". The man received a stem cell transplant three years ago.

While a combination of chemotherapies put the cancer into remission, the doctors had by this point identified an unrelated individual that was a good match for the patient, and carried mutations that can block HIV infection. They also plan to present details in Seattle at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, which began Monday.

Gupta said the method used is not appropriate for all patients but offers hope for new treatment strategies.

It may have been 12 years since the famous 'Berlin patient' made history by becoming the first person to sustain HIV-1 remission without receiving anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs, but the newly announced case of an anonymous male British patient demonstrates the first result was not unique.

Anton Pozniak, president of the International AIDS Society (IAS) said the announcement "reaffirms our belief that there exists a proof of concept that HIV is curable".

According to The New York Times, the patient entered "remission" from HIV after he received a bone marrow transplant to treat his unrelated lymphoma diagnosis. There are now 37 million people infected with HIV, 21 million are on antiretroviral treatment, but drug-resistant strains are becoming more widespread.

Approximately 37 million people are now infected with HIV globally, and more than 35 million people have died from AIDS or related illnesses. People with two copies of the Δ32 mutation of CCR5 gene are resistant to HIV-1 infection.

Dr. Gero Hütter, who treated the Berlin patient and is now medical director at Cellex Collection Center in Dresden, Germany, said in an email that the treatment used for the London patient is "comparable" to the one he pioneered.

"If I have Hodgkin's disease or myeloid leukaemia", he said, "that's going to kill me anyway, and I need to have a stem cell transplant, and I also happen to have HIV, then this is very interesting". Brown, who required two transplants to cure his leukemia, had intensive chemical treatment and, on top of that, received whole body irradiation.

This is why blood stem cells (also called hematopoietic stem cells or bone marrow cells) are so significant.

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.

Researchers say a London man appears to be free of the AIDS virus after a stem cell transplant.

Researchers from University College London, Imperial College London, Cambridge and Oxford Universities were all involved in the case.

The study is to be published Tuesday in the journal Nature.

Dr. Ravindra Gupta, a HIV biologist who co-led the team of doctors who treated the patient, has described him as "functionally cured" and "in remission".

Timothy Henrich, a clinician at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), has seen HIV bounce back in two patients who had a conditioning regimen that impressively knocked down HIV reservoirs but whose transplants came from donors with working CCR5s.

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