A man living in the UK has been
effectively cured of HIV infection, doctors believe.
Known as the “London patient,” the
man is the second person to experience remission from HIV-1,
according to a case study published Tuesday in the journal Nature.
An estimated 37 million people
worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS.
The “London patient” stopped taking
antiretroviral drugs following a stem cell transplant from a donor
who carried a rare genetic mutation. He has remained in remission
for 18 months. Timothy Ray Brown, known as the “Berlin patient,”
had a similar outcome after undergoing two bone marrow transplants
from a donor with the same genetic mutation. Brown has been in
remission for roughly 10 years.
“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.
Dr. Sharon Lewis, director of the Peter
Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and a professor of
medicine at the University of Melbourne, explained the similarities
between the two cases.
"Coming 10 years after the
successful report of the Berlin Patient, this new case confirms that
bone marrow transplantation from a CCR5-negative donor can eliminate
residual virus and stop any traces of virus from rebounding. Two
factors are likely at play: The new bone marrow is resistant to HIV,
and also, the new bone marrow is actively eliminating any
HIV-infected cells,” said
Lewin, who was not involved in the case.
An estimated 1 million people die
annually from causes related to HIV.
expected to announce plan to end HIV transmissions by 2030.)