A British man may be the second person to be cured of HIV after doctors said he was in ‘sustained remission’ after being given stem cells from a donor with genetic resistance to the disease.
SOURCE: The Telegrapgh UK
The breakthrough comes 10 years after the first such case, known as ‘The Berlin Patient’.
The second person, dubbed ‘The London Patient’ was treated by specialists at at University College London and Imperial College in 2016, and has since shown no sign of the virus.
Doctors are hopeful the man is now cured, although say it is too early to make a final call.
“While it is too early to say with certainty that our patient is now cured of HIV, and doctors will continue to monitor his condition, the apparent success of stem cell transplantation offers hope in the search for a long-awaited cure for HIV/AIDS,” said Professor Eduardo Olavarria of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Imperial College London.
The therapy works by effectively replacing the blood cells of an infected person with that of someone who is immune to HIV through a genetic mutation which prevents to virus attaching to cells.
“By achieving remission in a second patient using a similar approach, we have shown that the Berlin Patient was not an anomaly, and that it really was the treatment approaches that eliminated HIV in these two people,” said the study’s lead author, Professor Ravindra Gupta (UCL, UCLH and University of Cambridge).
“At the moment the only way to treat HIV is with medications that suppress the virus, which people need to take for their entire lives, posing a particular challenge in developing countries.
“Finding a way to eliminate the virus entirely is an urgent global priority, but is particularly difficult because the virus integrates into the white blood cells of its host.”