Bone marrow transplant renders second patient free of HIV

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He and the London patient, who does not want to disclose his identity, both received stem cells from a donor with a rare genetic mutation of the CCR5 gene, making them HIV-resistant.

The London patient, who was being treated for cancer, has now been in remission from HIV for 18 months and is no longer taking HIV drugs.

"Coming 10 years after the successful report of the Berlin Patient, this new case confirms that bone marrow transplantation from a CCR5-negative donor can eliminate residual virus and stop any traces of virus from rebounding", she said.

Doctors and researchers have made remarkable progress in terms of treatment since then and the news of a second patient being cured is seen as a sign that a universal cure will eventually be found.

After news of the first "Berlin patient" broke at the same Seattle Conference in 2007, scientists have been trying hard to replicate the results in other HIV-infected patients. About 37 million people around the world have the viral infection.

It's an expensive, invasive, and extremely complicated immunological dance, and bone-marrow transplants can be fatal. Later that year he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma and needed chemotherapy.

First there was one, now there are two: A second cancer patient has been treated with a bone marrow transplant, and it looks like that treatment cured him of AIDS.

The London patient said that it was "surreal" and "overwhelming" to have both his cancer and his HIV cured at the same time.

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The Berlin patient was identified many years later as Timothy Ray Brown, a 52-year-old man now a California resident.

Current HIV therapies are really effective, meaning people with the virus can live long and healthy lives. "That completely suppresses the virus [making it] undetectable".

Brown, though, had undergone more severe treatment than the London patient and for a while researchers believed that his near-death experience was key to curing HIV. Notable differences were that the Berlin Patient was given two transplants, and underwent total body irradiation, while the United Kingdom patient received just one transplant and less intensive chemotherapy.

"They used a reduced intense conditioning regimen but I think that had no influence on the outcome", he said.

Fast forward to 2016 when the London patient received a bone marrow transplant from a donor with the same mutation. This indicates that other patients, in the same circumstances, should, where possible, receive transplants from a donor with this same gene mutation. He's also a cancer patient who got a stem-cell transplant.

The "London patient" case, cautiously reported in the journal Nature as still too "premature" to be declared a cure, comes a decade after Timothy Brown, known in medical circles as the "Berlin patient" was cured by a similar stem cell transplant, galvanizing the field of HIV research and sparking the search for a cure.

But the current news "does teach us a great deal about the HIV virus and how we can possibly create other ways to eradicate it", says Dr. Rosenthal. He said, "If something has happened once in medical science, it can happen again".

A man in London has become the second known HIV-positive adult to be cleared of the virus that causes the disease AIDS. The problems cleared up without intervention, though, and the patient was left with immune cells that lacked the protein used by HIV.

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