In fact, Timothy Ray Brown, the original patient functionally cured of HIV, also known as the Berlin patient, nearly died from a host donor rejection during his treatment.
Now, medical researchers in Germany claim they've replicated the game-changing results yet again for "the Düsseldorf patient", another HIV-positive person diagnosed with cancer. Yes, these new drugs hopefully have less side effects to extend the life long use of expensive pharmaceuticals by all people living with HIV, but they are not a cure. Two men known collectively to the media as the Boston Patients appeared to be "cured" of HIV following bone marrow transplants.
This approach is not practical for treating most patients with HIV, but it may one day lead to finding a cure.
The transplant involves killing nearly all the immune cells and replacing them with donor cells, and is so risky it can only be carried out on people with cancer.
Other HIV patients from IciStem have also undergone similar bone marrow transplants for cancer, but they have not yet stopped taking the antiviral medications at this point.
After undergoing chemotherapy, he underwent a stem cell transplant in 2016 and also continued with anti-retroviral drugs for 16 months.More news: Aussie Bogut just happy to be along for the ride with Warriors
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The so-called "Düsseldorf patient" case was announced Wednesday, at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle, New Scientist reported. "But there a small percentage of people who are naturally resistant to HIV infection due to rare genetic mutations known as CCR5-delta 32", he stressed.
These events mark an important milestone in securing domestic sustainable financing for the HIV response in Vietnam and ensuring that people living with HIV access treatment services.
Both patients are registered to a research collaboration project called IciStem, according to a statement. When HIV-infected individuals are compliant with the prescribed use of the AIDS cocktail, their viral load is undetectable and they become untransmittable, meaning they can not sexually transmit the HIV virus to others. 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.
The next big question is how the knowledge gained from CCR5 stem cell transplants might actually help create a true cure for HIV. HIV uses the protein to enter the cell, but it can not attach to the mutated version.
Top panel illustrates the treatment course for the London patient.
While a second patient experiencing HIV viral remission with a slightly less toxic cancer treatment is certainly encouraging progress, an 18-month remission does not equal a cure.