London HIV patient becomes world's second AIDS cure hope

06 March, 2019, 20:43 | Author: Denise Dawson
  • London man becomes second in world to be cured of HIV

Gupta went on to tell the outlet that the patient was "in remission" and "functionally cured"; however, "It's too early to say he's cured" completely, said the doctor. The man, nicknamed The London Man, was said to have contracted the HIV virus in 2003.

HIV experts said the importance of a second "cure" can't be underestimated. Although their HIV remained in remission longer than expected - for three and eight months - eventually their virus returned, showing that the stem cell transplant process itself is not enough to eradicate HIV.

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".

For the second time in history, medicine has achieved what was once the unthinkable: Not just a treatment for HIV/AIDS, but what seems to be an outright cure.

Timothy Ray Brown, cured of cancer and HIV and also known as the Berlin patient, attends the amfAR and GBChealth event, "Together to End AIDS". Scientific research into the complex virus has led to the development of drug combinations that can keep it at bay in most patients.

The London-based patient becomes the second individual ever to be seemingly cured of HIV over a decade after the first: Timothy Ray Brown, AKA the "Berlin patient", who nearly died after his treatment, according to The New York Times. Until now, Brown is the only person thought to have been cured of infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

But it also effective against cancer because the new "graft" cells work better against the disease.

After no HIV could be detected in their blood and tissues for years, the men underwent closely monitored treatment interruptions.

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Gupta added that the method used is not appropriate for all patients but offers hope for new treatment strategies, including gene therapies.

In 2016, doctors were able to successfully track down a donor with a rare genetic mutation - known as CCR5 delta 32 - which makes him resistant to HIV.

This means the virus can not penetrate cells in the body that it normally infects.

A London man has no remaining detectable HIV a year and a half after undergoing a bone marrow stem cell transplant to treat lymphoma, researchers are reporting this week at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2019) in Seattle. A variety of "reservoirs" of HIV-infected cells has been identified; all of the significant ones appear to be in immune cells of one type or another. Thanks to patients like this, we may have a better sense of how to ensure the benefits of the transplant include the elimination of HIV. It means even though copies of the virus may still be hiding quietly in the body, which can't be fought or treated unless they are activated, the virus is at a level that is undetectable in the patient's blood.

But he said much longer follow-up would be needed to ensure the virus did not re-emerge at a later stage.

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.

Advancements in antiretroviral drugs have greatly increased the life expectancy of people diagnosed with HIV in recent years.

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