A man has been cured from HIV almost four years after receiving a bone marrow transplant, according to a report published in a journal called “Blood” on December 8, 2010.

An HIV-positive, 40-year-old male received 2 bone marrow transplants to treat his acute myeloid leukemia in 2008, according to the report.

Dr. Gero Hüetter, from the Institute of Transfusion Medicine and Immunology in Mannheim Germany, and his colleagues decided to perform the transplants from donor cells that had the CCR5 delta-32 deletion, which is known to give some type of HIV resistance.

According to the report, the authors concluded that the patient had been cured from the HIV infection three and a half years after receiving the initial transplant.

The patient showed no signs of the HIV infection after the stem cell transplantation procedure. He even stopped taking HIV medications after the 2007 transplantation procedure. “In February 2011 this patient will be off any antiretroviral medication since 4 years. The last direct evidence of HIV was detectable on day 60 after transplantation. After that, multiple testing regarding HIV-RNA and DNA in blood, bone marrow, and solid organs was negative. Furthermore, additional tests like bio assay or single copy assay were negative. Corresponding to these findings, the CD4 T-cell count increased to normal values. Finally, we observed a partial sero-deconversion concerning HIV-antibodies,” said Hütter in an interview.

This case gives a way to construct a permanent cure for HIV through the process of using genetically-engineered stem cells. “In my opinion, the question why CCR5-delta32 transplantation worked so well in this patient is still not finally cleared. I believe that not only the CCR5 disruption was substantial for this success but also important the purging of the reservoir by the conditioning regimen. Therefore, probably both therapeutic approaches will be necessary for a new anti-HIV treatment in future,” said Hütter.

There's an estimated 33 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS, and now doctors believe one of them may have been cured of the virus after receiving a stem cell transplant in 2007, the medical journal Blood reported.

Timothy Ray Brown, an HIV-positive American living in Germany, had leukemia and was undergoing chemotherapy, when he received a transplant of stem cells from a donor carrying a rare, inherited gene mutation that seems to make carriers virtually immune to HIV infection.


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