IAS statement on "London Patient" in HIV remission after transplant

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Donors must be a genetic match to recipients, and there are very few people who also naturally carry two copies of the disabled CCR5 gene, which limits the number of potential transplants.

Sixteen months after the procedure (which notably didn't include radiotherapy, unlike the Berlin patient), the London patient discontinued ARV drugs (aka ART therapy), and has now been in HIV remission for over 18 months.

Gupta's patient, a male resident of the United Kingdom who prefers to remain anonymous, was diagnosed with HIV infection in 2003 and began antiretroviral therapy in 2012.

A transplant of bone marrow stem cells from a donor with that specific mutation has seemingly cured the man, known only as the "London patient," of his HIV infection.

Dr. Sharon Lewin, director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and a professor of medicine at the University of Melbourne, said the long remission seen in the London patient is "exciting".

London | A patient in Britain is HIV-free, doctors announced this week in what appears to be an astounding case.

Stem cell transplants are an established treatment for the cancer.

Does this mean HIV has been cured?

He asked to remain anonymous, but told The New York Times hearing he could be cured of cancer and HIV was "overwhelming" and "surreal", as he "never thought that there would be a cure during my lifetime".

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This is the second time a person has been cleared of HIV following a bone marrow transplant from a donor with this genetic mutation.

Most experts say it is unlikely such treatments could be a way of curing all patients. "We can't detect anything", HIV biologist Ravindra Gupta - one of the doctors who treated the man - told Reuters.

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. In both cases, the donors' stem cells immediately began to attack the patients' immune cells. These mutations are in a gene called CCR5, which HIV normally recognizes in immune cells and uses like a key to enter and infect them. "There are similarities with the Berlin Patient case, but there are also differences". Finding ways to treat people infected with HIV with some infusions of mutated CCR5 cells that block infection seems to make more sense now.

A bone-marrow stem cell transplant has led to a patient with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) going into long-term remission, meaning he might become the second person to be cured of the disease.

He still doesn't take antiretroviral treatment, the treatment that most people with HIV take, and yet he remains essentially cured.

Usually, HIV patients expect to stay on daily pills for life to suppress the virus.

Compared to Brown, the London patient had a less punishing form of chemotherapy to get ready for the transplant, didn't have radiation and had only a mild reaction to the transplant. The man stopped taking antiretroviral drugs 18 months ago.

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