A second person seems to be HIV-free after stem cell transplant


Gupta went on to tell the outlet that the patient was "in remission" and "functionally cured"; however, "It's too early to say he's cured" completely, said the doctor.

In 2016, when he was very ill with cancer, doctors chose to seek a transplant match for him.

A London hospital patient is the second person in the world to be cleared of the Aids virus, doctors have said.

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. Exact match donors would have to be found in the tiny proportion of people - a lot of them of northern European descent - who have the CCR5 mutation.

AIDS researchers have known about the this CCR5 mutation for years and have tried to think of ways to exploit it as a treatment for HIV. The man suffered from post-procedure complications whereby the donor's immune cells attacked his own. The transplant destroyed the cancer without harmful side effects, while the transplanted immune cells, which are now resistant to H.I.V., seem to have fully replaced his vulnerable cells, according to the paper.

The benefits of this treatment outweigh the risk for cancer patients, which is where it is most commonly used. He is only the second person documented to be in sustained remission without ARV, the researchers said.

He said his team planned to use these findings to explore potential HIV treatment strategies.

Around 100,000 people in Britain are living with HIV and the team is now looking into whether it is possible to simply knock out the receptor through gene therapy.

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"By achieving remission in a second patient using a similar approach, we have shown that the Berlin patient was not an anomaly", said lead author Ravindra Gupta, a professor at the University of Cambridge, referring to the first known functional cure.

Physicians at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom replaced the patient's white blood cells with HIV-resistant cells via a stem cell transplant.

"I did not want to be the only person in the world cured of HIV", Brown wrote in a medical journal in 2015, explaining why he made a decision to reveal his identity.

To treat his cancer, he received chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant in 2016; the chemotherapy killed the malignant and healthy cells in his immune system and blood, while the transplant gave him a fresh start with bone marrow cells from a healthy donor, which seeded a new population of cancer-free immune and blood cells.

That didn't happen with the London patient.

"But this is not applicable to the millions of people who don't need a stem cell transplant".

Almost 37 million people around the world live with HIV, the forerunner to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, better known as AIDS.

The Wall Street Journal noted, "Scientists are struggling to find a cure for HIV, a virus notorious for hiding in the body and evading attempts to flush it out".