An HIV-positive man in the UK is the second known adult to be cleared of the AIDS virus after he received a bone marrow transplant from an HIV-resistant donor.
Almost three years after he received a bone marrow stem cell transplant from a person who had a genetic mutation that resists HIV infection and more than 18 months off antiretroviral drugs, tests show no trace of HIV infection.
Most experts say the treatment is inconceivable as a way of curing all patients. It is not clear if the CCR5 resistance is the only key to a cure, but the findings will help researchers explore new HIV treatment strategies.
Doctors are describing the man as functionally cured and in remission, but cautioned that it’s too early to say he’s cured. As they have with the previous person cured, Timothy Brown, they are using a remission protocol similar to cancer. Timothy Brown underwent similar treatment in Germany in 2007 which cleared his HIV, he is still HIV-free.
The case is set to be reported in the journal Nature and presented at a conference in Seattle.
Image: “HIV-infected H9 T Cell” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0