Medicine

London man becomes second in world to be cured of HIV

London man becomes second in world to be cured of HIV

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.

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

"HIV Is Cured In 2nd Patient, Doctors Report".

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.

"For hepatitis C, we can completely cure people of the virus so they're no longer infected".

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Although a bone-marrow transplant cannot be a standard treatment for HIV, doctors can use what they learn in these special cases to try to develop new treatments that could be used by more people, Adalja said. Like Brown, his donor had a double CCR5-delta-32 mutation.

After no HIV could be detected in their blood and tissues for years, the men underwent closely monitored treatment interruptions. He underwent intensive conditioning chemotherapy and whole-body radiation to kill off his cancerous immune cells, allowing the donor stem cells to rebuild a new HIV-resistant immune system. But Brown nearly died by the end of the treatment. Partly for that reason, doctors have not considered this a viable option for HIV/AIDS patients.

That didn't happen with the London patient. Again, the procedure was meant to treat Hodgkin's lymphoma, not HIV/AIDS.

The transplant led to complete lymphoma remission and testing showed that the man's CD4 T cells now lack CCR5 receptors.

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Gupta was careful to mention that this type of stem cell treatment is not appropriate for all HIV patients but still offers hope for the possibility of new strategies, including gene therapies.

There are important limitations to applying the findings of the London patient to a HIV cure, said Anthony Kelleher, director of the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. The London patient is one of 40 in the study.

The patient - a British man who prefers to remain anonymous - was first diagnosed with HIV in 2003.

"Medications used to be much more hard and have higher side effects", says Dr. Rosenthal. That may sound like a cure but it's not: When the medications stop, the virus comes back.

But in the case of the London patient, the treatment worked.

"I think this is really quite significant".

However, most of the patients have died due to the cancer, side effects of the transplant, or saw a return of the virus after quitting antiretroviral drugs.

According to Reuters, experts say that it may not be possible to widely adopt the procedure given its complexity and the difficulty of finding donor matches who have the HIV-resistant genetic mutation. Brown, who required two transplants to cure his leukemia, had intensive chemical treatment and, on top of that, received whole body irradiation.

To test whether he was truly in HIV-1 remission, the London patient disrupted his usual antiretroviral therapy. Scientific research into the complex virus has in recent years led to the development of drug combinations that can keep it at bay in most patients.


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