Second HIV Patient is in Remission, Cure May Be Discovered Soon

Second HIV Patient is in Remission, Cure May Be Discovered Soon

Professor Eduardo Olavarria, from Imperial College London, said: "While it is too premature to say with certainty that our patient is now cured of HIV, he is clearly in a long-term remission". 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.

"I think that one thing we've learned is finding a scalable, economically feasible cure, or HIV remission, is going to be hard", said Timothy Henrich, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.

The London Patient has chosen to remain anonymous.

Now, an worldwide team of scientists led by Ravindra Gupta, a virologist at the University College London, reports a second patient has been in remission for three years following a similar procedure.

The breakthrough comes 10 years after the first such case, known as "The Berlin Patient". He has been tested regularly in the 18 months since, and so far not only is there no sign of the virus returning, but his white blood cells are not expressing CCR5.

Does this mean HIV has been cured?

It's a matter of semantics, says Dr. Steven Deeks, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and one of the doctors who treated Brown. "Is that a cure?" So, the transplant gave the patient the mutation and built-in HIV resistance, according to the case study that was published online Monday in the journal Nature.

But they are sometimes used for treating specific cancers that affect blood or immune cells, especially if chemotherapy has failed. To eliminate the virus, you'd have to kill every single infected cell in a person's body. "I never thought that there would be a cure during my lifetime", he wrote. "It may persist there for quite some time, but who cares?" Brown had to have a second stem cell transplant when his leukemia returned.

The circumstances of this cure do not apply to those of us who have been living with a HIV diagnosis for many years; the risks involved are too great.

Could the patient's HIV come back?

Stem-cell transplant was carried out in this patient for treatment of a form of leukaemia that was not responding to treatment. HIV can mutate from using CCR5 to relying on CXCR4, but in order to do that, it needs to be actively replicating.

The "London patient" told the Times, "I feel a sense of responsibility to help the doctors understand how it happened so they can develop the science", adding that when he was apprised he might be cured it felt "surreal" and "overwhelming". He is being called "the London patient" because he was treated in the British capital. Drug-resistant HIV is a growing concern.

The man stopped antiretroviral therapy in an analytic treatment interruption 17 months after the transplant. That transplant also appeared to clear his HIV infection. Partly for that reason, doctors have not considered this a viable option for HIV/AIDS patients.

Can bone marrow transplants eliminate HIV for a large number of people? Bone marrow transplants have always been used to treat this type of blood cancer. Twelve years ago the "Berlin patient" received a bone-barrow transplant of stem cells from a donor with two copies of the mutation of the gene CCR5, known to be resistant to HIV.

He later developed cancer and agreed to undergo a bone-marrow transplant for treatment. This crystallizes the idea that invasive, life-threatening treatments aren't required to achieve remission from HIV. Brown's cure. Since it was present in the cells transplanted into both Mr.

Still, Fauci is hopeful that such approaches will eventually be available for HIV patients.



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