Earlier this week, doctors from the United Kingdom said "the London patient", which had also undergone a bone marrow transplant from a donor with the same mutation.
All of that seemed to change when in 2008 at the Conference on Retrovirus and Opportunistic Infections in Boston, Massachusetts, the news broke of the Berlin patient, named Timothy Ray Brown, who seemed to have been cured of his HIV.
And so, cowed by that failure, the research community almost ignored the news that an obscure doctor in Berlin cured a patient, Timothy Brown, using a stem cell transplant, in 2008. However, that technique helps to overcome HIV can seek other approaches, for example, to edit the genome of the patient, introducing mutations in the CCR5 gene. Doctors do not know whether he was infected with this type of the virus after the treatment or whether some patients harbor a small number of X4 viruses that start to multiply when other types of HIV are not present.
It was subsequently found that the person who donated the patient's stem cells had a natural resistance to HIV. The genetic mutation of CCR5 makes the donor naturally resistant to HIV. Lower right panel shows that after the stem cell transplant, the patient's immune cells no longer displayed a working CCR5 receptor, which blocks more HIV from entering his CD4 cells. As part of his treatment for leukemia, which is a cancer of the immune system, his immune cells were destroyed and replaced with donor cells with the mutation. Getting shots at a clinic can lend more privacy to patients anxious about the stigma of filling an HIV prescription at a pharmacy, said Dr. Susan Swindells of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, who presented results Thursday at an HIV conference in Seattle. This gives us another, and perhaps greater reason, to hope for future revolutions in the HIV cure scientific agenda. When HIV-infected individuals are compliant with the prescribed use of the AIDS cocktail, their viral load is undetectable and they become untransmittable, meaning they can not sexually transmit the HIV virus to others.
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.
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It is noted that bone marrow transplantation cannot be applied for HIV-positive patients who do not have cancer.
"The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks and weakens the immune system, reducing its ability to fight diseases or infections", Girish Badarkhe, Haematologist at HCG Cancer Centre, Bengaluru, told IANS.
These events mark an important milestone in securing domestic sustainable financing for the HIV response in Vietnam and ensuring that people living with HIV access treatment services.
The patient treated by the UCL team was also battling lymphoma, a cancer of immune cells, which is a common complication of long-term HIV infection. When the patient received the donor transplants with this specific genetic mutation it also made him resistant to HIV as well.
Most importantly, the HIV community learned that Brown's case was not unique. He underwent treatment in 2016 and stopped taking antiretroviral medication the following year.