Published: Fri, March 08, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

HIV Eliminated By Bone Marrow Transplant In Cancer Patient : Shots

HIV Eliminated By Bone Marrow Transplant In Cancer Patient : Shots

The fact that this second patient has gone into remission can give researchers more confidence they're on the right path, Kiem said.

This breakthrough doesn't mean there is a cure for HIV, however, as doctors warn that bone marrow transplants are too risky for healthy people living with HIV to undergo.

"While there are important limitations to applying this study to a HIV cure globally, this second documented case does reinforce the message that HIV cures are possible". He remains free of HIV today.

That result raised hopes that HIV could be eradicated through a medical procedure and cure people of HIV infection. And Timothy Brown, who has held a solo spotlight for the last 12 years, is relieved to finally have someone to share it. Other attempts had failed. The study will also be presented at an HIV conference in Seattle.

Scientists who have studied the London patient are expected to publish a report Tuesday in the journal Nature. That year, he was also diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The patient remained on ARV for 16 months after the transplant, at which point the clinical team and the patient made a decision to interrupt ARV therapy to test if the patient was truly in HIV-1 remission.

The stem cells used for the transplant came from a donor who had a relatively rare genetic mutation that confers resistance to HIV.

A new drug-resistant form of HIV is also a growing concern.

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Sixteen months after the man's transplant, doctors found no sign of HIV in his body. It has now been more than 18 months and the infection hasn't reappeared, the scientists say. Gupta prefers to say the man is instead in long-term remission, in part because the team hasn't looked at tissues other than the patient's blood.

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.

"Common to both approaches is the presence of a modified gene in our immune system (CCR5) that is necessary for HIV infection".

Still, CCR5 is not the only gateway for HIV: Some strains are able to bypass this molecule entirely on their way into cells. Brown received a transplant without functioning CCR5 genes. This experiment raised an ethical furor.

The case offers hope that researchers will soon find a cure for AIDS. He will continue to monitor the man's condition, as it is still too early to say, officially, that he has been cured of HIV.

"Although this is not a viable large-scale strategy for a cure, it does represent a critical moment", said Anton Pozniak, president of the International AIDS Society. "It shows the Berlin patient was not just a one-off, that this is a rational approach in limited circumstances", said Daniel Kuritzkes, chief of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

The benefits of this treatment outweigh the risk for cancer patients, which is where it is most commonly used.

Prior to his transplant, the London patient was taking antiretroviral medications to manage his HIV. The patient remained on anti-HIV drugs to prevent the virus from replicating for almost 1.5 years after the transplant; because HIV tends to hide in cells in a dormant phase and reactivate years later, Gupta wanted to be sure that as much of the virus as possible was destroyed with the drugs.

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