London patient may be second person to be cured of HIV

Stem cell patient 'cured' of HIV | News

London Patient Cured Of HIV/AIDS

A nurse (L) hands out a red ribbon to a woman, to mark World Aids Day, at the entrance of Emilio Ribas Hospital, in Sao Paulo December 1, 2014.

Experts universally hailed the case, even as they cautioned that the procedure that resulted in the likely cure - a bone marrow transplant to treat blood cancer - is too risky and costly to be applied as a general treatment for HIV, which can today easily be managed, though not cured, with pills.

Timothy Ray Brown is an America who nearly died, as he suffered intense complications for months after he underwent a bone marrow transplant from a donor with the rare genetic mutation called "CCR5 delta 32" that's resistant to HIV, in an attempt to treat his cancer. After successfully finding a donor with the rare genetic mutation that makes people HIV-resistant, he was treated.

More than half a dozen US activists, including those who have lived with the illness for decades, emphasized that the development would do little to help those who are now HIV positive, because the procedure can not be administered broadly.

According to scientists, worldwide we see almost 1.8 million new HIV diagnoses and close to 1 million deaths every year.

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"The 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 Ms Lewin, co-chair of the International Aids Society's "Towards an HIV Cure" initiative. "And when it was given to him in the transplant, the CCR5 mutated and the HIV wasn't able to reattach itself to the white blood cells".

- Medical researchers are reporting a new milestone in their search for a cure for the HIV virus and that for the second time in 12 years, the virus has been eradicated by a patient. In addition to chemotherapy, he underwent a haematopoietic stem cell transplant from a donor with two copies of the CCR5 Δ32 allele in 2016.

"By achieving remission in a second patient using a similar approach, we have shown that the Berlin patient was not an anomaly, and that it really was the treatment approaches that eliminated HIV in these two people", Gupta said. He was later diagnosed with advanced Hodgkin's lymphoma, cancer of the immune system.

The new patient has chosen to remain anonymous, and the scientists referred to him only as the "London patient". "That is the cure", Deeks told Reuters.

The failure rate of such transplants is high.

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Other than using antiretroviral treatment to control the virus, there is no cure for HIV yet; however, scientists may be getting closer to finding one. After two bone marrow transplants, Brown was considered cured of his HIV-1 infection. Like the first patient, he received immunosuppressive drugs; but the treatment was much less than intense than the drugs the first patient took more than a decade ago. Patient is in HIV remission 18 months later.

The vast majority of HIV virus strains use the CCR5 molecule, or receptor, as the port of entry into human cells.

Some research teams in the United States and elsewhere are developing gene-editing techniques to edit CCR5 cells outside of the body and reintroduce the edited cells back to patients.

It goes without saying, many people are excited by the new breakthrough in the fight against HIV, including President Donald Trump.

One avenue worth exploring is gene therapy.

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