London Patient Might be Second-Ever Cured of HIV
- Author: Sylvester Abbott Mar 06, 2019,
Mar 06, 2019, 0:41
The London patient received stem cells from a donor with this specific genetic mutation, which made him resistant to HIV as well. While transplant is not the ideal option for HIV patients, it does offer hope in terms of where the researchers can take this. Gupta said the man was "functionally cured" and "in remission", but said it was "too early to say he's cured". The man had contracted HIV in 2003, Gupta said, and in 2012 was also diagnosed with a type of blood cancer called Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Over a decade ago, a German doctor announced the first case of a patient who had been cleared of the virus.
After the bone marrow transplant, the London patient remained on ARV for 16 months, at which point ARV treatment was stopped.
The London Patient has not been named yet, but Brown hopes both men will meet one day, but just not yet on account of publicity concerns.
Scientists have inched closer to finding the real cure for HIV/AIDS after another man who was until recently HIV-positive was successfully cured of the disease in Britain.
However, the researchers stress that such a bone-marrow transplant would not work as a standard therapy for all patients with HIV.
The London patient, whose case was set to be reported in the journal Nature and presented at a medical conference in Seattle on Tuesday, has asked his medical team not to reveal his name, age, nationality or other details.
CCR5 was the target in the genome of the controversial gene-edited twins born past year in China, whose father is HIV-positive. In one example, Pablo Tebas, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Pennsylvania, and his co-workers remove white blood cells from HIV-infected people and then knock out their CCR5 genes with a genome editor called zinc finger nucleases, a precursor to the better known CRISPR. After chemotherapy, he underwent a stem cell transplant in 2016 and subsequently remained on antiretroviral therapy for 16 months. The longer treatment is delayed, the greater the chance that HIV can also mutate to use CXCR4 and CCR5 to infect cells. Almost 37 million people have been infected world-wide over the past four decades.
Doctors in London say they have apparently eradicated HIV from a patient's body.
The man simply identified yet as "London Patient" is the second person to have the undetectable viral load.
Finding a stem cell donor with a double copy of the HIV-resistant gene mutation was "an improbable event", said lead researcher Ravindra Gupta of University College London.
The experiment, which is under investigation and does not even appear to have succeeded at creating the desired deletion in twin girls, was widely condemned as unethical, a premature and reckless use of an unproven technology and medically unnecessary because of a multitude of other ways to prevent HIV transmission.
The only previous patient to be cured of the virus was Timothy Ray Brown, an American known as the "Berlin patient".
"I think this does change the game a little bit", Gupta opined to NYT of the new patient, who had less invasive treatment than Brown.