Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

British man with HIV becomes second person ever to enter remission

London patient second in world to be cleared of Aids virus – researchers London HIV Patient World's Second To Be Cleared Of AIDS Virus: Doctors
Anna Jefferson | 07 March, 2019, 09:44

"Although it is not a viable large-scale strategy for a cure, it does represent a critical moment in the search for an HIV cure", said Anton Pozniak, president of the International AIDS Society in a statement.

It was only in 2016 that he was able to access the stem cell donation because he was seeking treatment for the cancer, not the HIB.

"By achieving remission in a second patient using a similar approach, we have shown that the Berlin Patient was not an anomaly, and that it really was the treatment approaches that eliminated HIV in these two people", said Gupta.

Then in 2017, Gupta took the London patient off of the anti-HIV drugs to see if the transplant had worked as it had in Brown's case: to push the HIV into remission. "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.

The London patient, who had Hodgkin's lymphoma, is the first adult to be cleared of HIV since Brown.

For the London patient, Gupta and his team also found a donor who had these mutations in CCR5.

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Most experts say it is inconceivable such treatments could be a way of curing all patients. The transplant destroyed the cancer without harmful side effects, while the transplanted immune cells, which are now resistant to H.I.V., seem to have fully replaced his vulnerable cells, according to the paper. The scientists say the treatment strategy is not practical as a standard approach for the millions now living with the illness.

"I did not want to be the only person in the world cured of HIV", Brown wrote in a medical journal in 2015, explaining why he chose to reveal his identity. It was a similar approach to that used on Timothy Brown, also known as the "Berlin patient", who remains HIV-free today after treatment in Germany in 2007.

The London patient, whose case is set to be presented at a medical conference in Seattle on Tuesday, has asked his medical team not to reveal his name, age, nationality or other details. Numerous attempts to replicate the procedure have not been successful until now, with the latest case dubbed that of the "London patient". There are complications too. About 37 million people worldwide now have HIV, and the AIDS virus has killed about 35 million since taking off in the 1980s. Brown, now 52, had leukemia and underwent two bone marrow transplants, being placed in an induced coma following his treatment before eventually recovering.

Sharon R Lewin, director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and the University of Melbourne, told AFP, "The second case strengthens the idea that a cure is feasible".

The study describes an anonymous male patient in Britain who was diagnosed with HIV infection in 2003 and has been on antiretroviral therapy since 2012.

"We can try to tease out which part of the transplant might have made a difference here, and allowed this man to stop his anti-viral drugs".

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