Again, bone marrow transplant totally cures man of HIV

Grant Boone
March 6, 2019

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.

This man's case comes 10 years after another man was revealed to be the first person cured of HIV.

Sixteen months after the procedure (which notably didn't include radiotherapy, unlike the Berlin patient), the London patient discontinued ARV drugs (aka ART therapy), and has now been in HIV remission for over 18 months. He remains free of HIV today.

Unfortunately, this cure still isn't ready to be disseminated to other infected patients.

Although Brown almost died after he was given strong immunosuppressive drugs and was put into a coma, the "London patient" did not come that close; he suffered from Hodgkin's lymphoma and received a similar bone-marrow transplant to Brown's, but the immunosuppressive drugs he received were gentler. "This was really his last chance of survival", Gupta said.

Reuters reports that the man, whose identity has not been revealed, has tested negative for the virus nearly three years after he received a bone marrow transplant from a donor with an HIV-resistant genetic mutation. He developed Hodgkin lymphoma that year and agreed to a stem cell transplant to treat the cancer in 2016.

Most experts say it is inconceivable such treatments could be a way of curing all patients.

Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the HIV/AIDS division at the National Institutes of Health, told the Daily Mail, we shouldn't expect this type of treatment to become the stock standard for people wanting a cure.

In the meantime, he said the focus needed to be on diagnosing HIV promptly and starting patients on lifelong combination antiretroviral therapy.

The study also claims that replacing the infected patients' cells with the mutated ones seemed to keep HIV from coming back after the treatment.

Priyanka Chopra wants an apology from Meghan Markle
Kate Middleton will be throwing a second baby shower for sister-in-law Meghan Markle , it's been claimed. Meghan Markle's lavish NY baby shower was a star-studded affair one could only dream of.

His team plans to use their findings to explore possibilities for future HIV treatment plans. "We need to understand if we could knock out this (CCR5) receptor in people with HIV, which may be possible with gene therapy", he said.

University College London researchers made the announcement at the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle this week.

Similar therapy has been successful once before with "Berlin Patient", a USA man treated in Germany 12 years ago who is still free of HIV.

To learn more about the factors that favor a cure, amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, a New York City-based foundation, in 2014 began to fund a consortium of global researchers who do transplants in HIV-infected people with blood cancers.

Mr Brown said he would like to meet the London patient and would encourage him to go public because "it's been very useful for science and for giving hope to HIV-positive people, to people living with HIV".

A bit over two months after the transplant, the patient showed signs that his new immune system was attacking his own cells. There are complications too.

The London Patient mirrors the Berlin Patient Brown but there are differences.

After Brown's case, scientists tried for 12 years to copy the result with other HIV-positive cancer patients.

"Although it is not a viable large-scale strategy for a cure ... these new findings reaffirm our belief that there exists a proof of concept that HIV is curable", Anton Pozniak, the president of the International Aids Society, told The Guardian.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER