Published: Thu, March 07, 2019
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

‘London patient’ is world’s second ever in HIV remission

‘London patient’ is world’s second ever in HIV remission

A research paper led by UCL and Imperial College London has reported that a patient treated with stem cell transplant has been in remission from HIV for 18 months and is no longer taking HIV drugs. In the case of both Brown and now the London patient, the new blood cells transplanted into them were from donors who had two copies of a gene mutation for the CCR5 receptor.

For the second time since the global epidemic begun, scientists claim to have "cured" a HIV patient.

According to Reuters, the donor was unrelated and had a genetic mutation known as "CCR5 delta 32", which confers resistance to HIV.

Bone marrow transplants are inherently risky and are considered a last resort treatment, so it is unlikely they could be used en masse to treat HIV patients. He was placed on antiretroviral therapy in 2012, but later that year, he was also diagnosed with advanced Hodgkin's Lymphoma and was treated with chemotherapy.

A man in London, England is now free of HIV/AIDS after stem cell transplant therapy.

The CCR5 gene, and the eponymous cell it codes for, nearly certainly play a crucial role in the collateral HIV cure. 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. Most HIV uses both the CD4 and CCR5 receptor to enter a person's immune cells.

The vast majority of people living with HIV are located in low- and middle- income countries, with an estimated 66% living in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Chemotherapy can be effective against HIV as it kills cells that are dividing. But she said his was also an unusual circumstance. and that the treatment is not practical for her patients with HIV.

Gupta said the treatment is not appropriate for all patients, but it offers hope for a possible cure for everyone living with the disease. Preventing HIV Virus From Rebounding The male patient was diagnosed with HIV infection in 2003.

After the bone marrow transplant, the London patient remained on ARV for 16 months, at which point ARV treatment was stopped.

According to the journal, so far, the latest patient to receive the treatment is showing a response similar to Brown, quoting Andrew Freedman, a clinical infectious diseases physician at Cardiff University who was not involved in the study. Under normal circumstances, the CCR5 gene in question acts like a key of sorts, enabling penetrate and infect humans' immune cells.

The research team for the London patient will present their findings at the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle, Washington.

This case is the only the second reported case of an adult apparently becoming free of HIV infection. "The hope is that this will eventually lead to a safe, cost-effective and easy strategy to achieve these results using gene technology or antibody techniques". To some that means a cure; however, as Dr Annemarie Wensing of the University Medical Centre Utrecht, who was quoted by The NYT, said, "We don't have any worldwide agreement on what time without viral rebound is necessary to speak about cure".

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