A HIV patient previously known only as "The London Patient", who was cured of the virus, has revealed his identity for the first time. However, he was not cured by HIV medication, but by stem cell treatment that he received for cancer that he also had, the Lancet HIV Journal reports.
Similar therapy has been successful once before with Timothy Ray Brown, known as the "Berlin Patient", who is still free of HIV after being treated in Germany. "Our results show that the success of stem cell transplantation as a cure for HIV, which was first reported in the Berlin patient nine years ago, can be repeated".
In 2003, Mr Castillejo was diagnosed with HIV infection and developed an Aids defining cancer, advanced Hodgkin's Lymphoma, in 2012.
There was no active viral infection in the patient's blood 30 months after antiviral therapy was stopped, they report, suggesting the patient has been cured. But good results brought hope to his life and he wanted to be "the ambassador of hope" in the lives of others and share his story with the world.More news: FACT CHECK: Trump's Accusations About The Obama Administration And Swine Flu
18-month data from Castillejo's treatment was reported previous year, at which point he was judged to be in remission as it was too soon to talk about a cure.
"HIV uses this protein to gain entry into the cells it infects", Johnston said.
The Stem-cell transplants stop the virus from replicating and replaces the patient's immune cells with those that resist the drug. Such transplants are risky, and both Castillejo and Brown needed the transplants to treat cancer, rather than for HIV. Last year, Frank Ocean opened his club night, PrEP+, named after the drug that reduces the risk of HIV transmission, as an homage to what could have been of the 1980s' NYC club scene if the drug PrEP had been invented in that era.
Although Castillejo's case shows that 99 percent of his immune cells became healthy, the "remnants of the virus in his body" make it uncertain as to whether or not he might suffer a future relapse. Prof. Gupta said: "It is important to note that this treatment is a high risk and is only used as a last resort for patients with HIV who also have life-threatening haematological malignancies".More news: Lego Super Mario interactive playsets coming in 2020
The patient reported in this study (the "London patient"), underwent one stem-cell transplantation and a reduced-intensity chemotherapy drug regimen, without whole body irradiation.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Castillejo revealed that it was a unusual experience watching people react to his cure without knowing his identity.
A man from London has become the second person to be successfully cured of HIV in the latest breakthrough in the fight against the deadly virus. Brown has now been free of HIV for more than 13 years.
"What if we could work out a way of doing gene therapy that actually you would inject into the person's arm the actual gene therapy tools, and then they would seek out the cells they need to do the editing on and do it inside the cells of the person", Johnston said.More news: Coronavirus: WHO Main Tedros Adhanom feared a pandemic Only five months ago
Since it was not possible to measure proportion of cells derived from the donor's stem cells in all parts of the patient's body (i.e. measurement was not possible in some tissue cells like lymph nodes), the authors used a modelling analysis to predict the probability of cure based on two possible scenarios.