"Coming 10 years after the successful report of the Berlin Patient, this new case confirms that bone marrow transplantation from a CCR5-negative donor can eliminate residual virus and stop any traces of virus from rebounding", said Lewin.
The news comes a decade after the first case of a cure was reported. Now, tests show he has no sign of the HIV virus in his blood.
The scientists note in their study that the treatment for the second patient was less harsh than the one used for the Berlin patient, raising the possibility that they could develop a less risky procedure for stem-cell transplants for HIV-positive patients. That man, Timothy Ray Brown (known only as the "Berlin patient" at the time), received a similar bone marrow transplant which cured him of the disease.More news: Trade deficit hits record
A London man has been in remission from HIV for a year and a half, without drugs, after receiving a stem cell transplant of virus-resistant cells - raising the prospect that he has become the second person to ever be cured of the disease.
Almost 37 million people around the world live with HIV, the forerunner to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, better known as AIDS. While Brown had intensive chemotherapy and irradiation to prep for the transplant, the London patient had low intensity conditioning and no irradiation, and the Düsseldorf patient received myeloablative conditioning but no irradiation.
While some commentators are calling this a "cure" for HIV, the scientists who performed the experiment say it's too soon to say that.
The stem cell donor had a double copy (inherited from both parents) of a gene mutation that confers natural resistance to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Donors must be a genetic match to recipients, and there are very few people who also naturally carry two copies of the disabled CCR5 gene, which limits the number of potential transplants.More news: International Women’s Day wishes 2019: Status messages and cards
This means the virus can not penetrate cells in the body that it normally infects.
As with cancer, chemotherapy can be effective against HIV as it kills cells that are dividing. The problems cleared up without intervention, though, and the patient was left with immune cells that lacked the protein used by HIV. The new patient had none of this HIV variant, which probably contributed to the success of this treatment. Thanks to patients like this, we may have a better sense of how to ensure the benefits of the transplant include the elimination of HIV.
"While this type of treatment is clearly not practical to treat the millions of people around the world living with HIV, reports such as these may help in the ultimate development of a cure for HIV".
In the meantime, he said the focus needed to be on diagnosing HIV promptly and starting patients on lifelong combination antiretroviral therapy.
The treatment that we have means that someone with HIV should have a normal life-expectancy.More news: These 'Captain Marvel' Actors Were in Previous Marvel Movies!