First man cured of HIV

First man cured of HIV

Doctors have declared a man cured of HIV five years after he received a bone marrow transplant and radiation therapy – but keep wearing those condoms as in the short term that cure will only work for a very small number of people.

On December 2 last year researchers published a paper in the Journal of the American Society of Hematology arguing that it is “reasonable to conclude that cure of HIV infection has been achieved in this patient”.

Six months later they now have the confidence to state that a cure has been affected.

Timothy Ray Brown, known as the “Berlin patient” was HIV positive and being treated for leukaemia in Germany in 2007 when his doctor, Gero Hutter, decided to follow up on a hunch.

Hutter knew that less than 1 percent of Europeans carry a mutation that, when inherited from both parents, gives them a heightened immunity to HIV.

The mutation means that a molecule that HIV uses to enter a cell does not appear on the surfaces of their cell walls.

Hutter began a search for a donor with the mutation who was compatible with Brown.

When one was found Brown was given a powerful course of drugs and radiation therapy that killed his bone marrow and most of his immune cells- wiping out active HIV infected cells in his body.

They then transplanted the donor bone marrow which began to produce immune cells with the mutation which spread throughout his body.

Doctors initially asked Brown to stop taking HIV medications so as to not affect the ability of the new marrow to survive and he has never needed to resume them.

The procedures Brown underwent required long periods of extreme discomfort, caused him neurological damage and carried a high risk of complication including death, and that coupled with the rarity of compatible donors with the mutation mean this approach will not be an option for many patients.

The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine is now funding research in the San Francisco Bay area which will try to replicate the result in another patient.

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6 responses to “First man cured of HIV”

  1. That’s great! This seems like a glimmer of hope for the millions who have it all over the world. Keep at it guys. We have to beat this!!

  2. Thats like the news of the century…Now is the time to start pushing the effort even harder!!! Though it was a long shot it proved one thing and thats that this disease is defeatable.

    HIV has been devastating humanity for 30 something years and we’ve been on the defensive side of the this battle, I believe that Now is the time for us as a people to go on “The Great Offensive” and eradicate this foe from the face of the earth, once and “for all” and “for all”, That have been affected and devastated by this deadly disease.

    P.ray U.ntil S.omething H.appens effort fight for the cure!!! Thank you Lord, Amen…

  3. What a great achievement attained by the medical sceince. But dont take a risk stating that AIDS is no longer danger to human being as it can cure. Keep yourself away from AIDS

  4. While I commend anyone who dedicates themselves to trying to find a cure for HIV or any terminal illess or discease – this is not a realistic cure per-say. This was a ‘one-of’ treatment which just so happened to have a fantastic result and worthy of reporting. Imagine the impossible logistical needs of trying to get this treatment to East Timor, Papua New Guinea or some places in Africa where there isnt even electricity. In to many places around the world, medications that cost less than $1US a day, are not affordable and therefore not even a way of keeping HIV in check.

    Before a Medical journal reports this as a ‘cure’ or even indicates it as a ‘possible cure’ it needs to be able to be seen as a viable solution with can be provided to all men, women and children with HIV across the world regardless of Geo/Economic situations.

    There is little benefit of finding a solution for the ‘Western’ societies and leaving tens of thousands to die in the ‘Third world’. if HIV is left anywhere on our planet, it will still remain a major risk to all of humanity.

    Every day small children are dying – a ‘cure’ must be a ‘cure for all’ not just for the rich.

    10 points for this outcome and worth recognition but we must not think that a cure is only around the corner if this is the only way – Its been 30 years and HIV is still here.

  5. indeed keep the condom on! this sounds like a very painful process, therefore avoid the infection.