HIV patient in Britain gets cured of the disease

05 Mars, 2019, 09:22 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
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However, because HIV remained undetectable, he is still considered clinically cured of his infection, according to his doctors. He received transplant from a donor with a mutation in a protein called CCR5.

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.

Gupta added that the method used is not appropriate for all patients but offers hope for new treatment strategies, including gene therapies.

"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 Ravindra Gupta, lead author of the study and a professor in University College London's Division of Infection and Immunity.

The patient has not been identified.

In the new case, now dubbed the "London patient", the anonymous male also received a stem cell treatment from a donor with the same CCR5 gene mutation, this time while being treated for Hodgkin's lymphoma.

While the patient had been in remission from HIV for 18 months, scientists said it was too early to say the man had been "cured".

The decades-long HIV epidemic still persists in the United States and worldwide, with almost 39,000 new diagnoses in the country in 2017.

Some 37 million people worldwide are now infected with HIV and the AIDS pandemic has killed around 35 million people worldwide since it began in the 1980s.

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Timothy Henrich, a clinician at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), has seen HIV bounce back in two patients who had a conditioning regimen that impressively knocked down HIV reservoirs but whose transplants came from donors with working CCR5s.

The investigators are to publish their report Tuesday in the journal Nature and to present some of the details at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle.

Gupta and his team emphasized that bone marrow transplant - a unsafe and painful procedure - is not a viable option for HIV treatment.

"This will inspire people that cure is not a dream", Dr. Annemarie Wensing, a virologist at University Medical Center Utrecht, told the Times.

Researchers say a London man appears to be free of the HIV virus after a stem cell transplant.

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. About one percent of people descended from northern Europeans have inherited the mutation from both parents and are immune to most HIV.

"In a way, the only person to compare with directly is the Berlin patient", he said.

The scientists are describing the case as a long-term remission publically, while most experts are calling it a cure, the paper reported.

"At the moment, the only way to treat HIV is with medications that suppress the virus, which people need to take for their entire lives", said Gupta.


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