2nd patient cured of HIV/AIDS gives hope to many including Jeff Sheehy

Stem cell patient 'cured' of HIV | News

The London Patient's case gives fresh hope to scientists and pharmaceutical researchers who have spent decades looking for ways to end AIDS. Otwoma said although there has been a notable decline in new HIV infections, continued effort is still needed to develop an efficacious, accessible and affordable HIV vaccine.

That man received a bone marrow transplant for the cancer by a donor who had a gene mutation resistant to HIV.

People who have two mutated copies of the CCR5 allele are resistant to the HIV-1 virus strain that uses this receptor, as the virus can not enter host cells.

A second person is in sustained remission from HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS, after ceasing treatment and is likely cured, researchers were set to announce at a medical conference Tuesday.

The medical team, led by Ravindra Gupta, an infectious disease physician at Cambridge, described the results in a paper published this week by the journal Nature. 18 months later, doctors said there was no sign of the virus.

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.

This "graft versus host" effect is akin to a deadly battle of two immune systems, explained Steven Deeks, an HIV expert at the University of California.

Stem cell transplants typically are harsh procedures which start with radiation or chemotherapy to damage the body's existing immune system and make room for a new one. After receiving treatment, both patients were eventually taken off their anti-retroviral medications and subsequent examination showed that that even with very sensitive blood tests, the team could not detect HIV in their blood.

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International Aids Society hails news of HIV free patient

Timothy Ray Brown, known as the "Berlin Patient" and the first person to have been cured of AIDS. There have been other attempts to discontinue anti-retroviral therapy for HIV-positive bone marrow transplant recipients, but in these cases the patient's virus has come back.

But the London patient's conditioning treatment was far milder than Brown's, leading many to conclude this was probably not responsible for vanquishing the HIV virus.

"They used a reduced intense conditioning regimen but I think that had no influence on the outcome", he said.

After the bone marrow transplant, the London patient remained on ARV for 16 months, at which point ARV treatment was stopped. The patient has not yet undergone testing for residual HIV in his gut, brain, or other tissues.

A man in London is now the world's second known patient to be cured of the AIDS virus.

Johnson explains for the Washington Post, the bone marrow donation not only helped the London patient overcome his Hodgkin's lymphoma, but also equipped him with a genetic mutation known to make cells almost immune to H.I.V. Most HIV uses both the CD4 and CCR5 receptor to enter a person's immune cells.

According to the report, the patient was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 and was on anti-HIV drugs since 2012.

"This is not a treatment appropriate for people with HIV who do not have cancer", the Treatment Action Group said in a statement. "Some of them are directly related to the Berlin patient and work with transplantation: for example, gene modification therapy".

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