In 2007, Timothy Ray Brown became the first person ever whom doctors declared to be cured of HIV. Thirteen years later, in 2020 researchers from the United Kingdom confirmed the second case of a person cured from HIV. In both cases the patients had a diagnosis of leukemia and lymphoma respectively, that required a stem cell transplant.
The researchers treated both cases with donors with a genetic mutation that made the patient practically immune to HIV, a mutation in the CCR5 gene.
Recently, a female patient with leukemia in the United States has become the fist woman and the third person to be cured from HIV after receiving a stem cell transplant. The case was presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic infections in the US city of Denver, and it was the first involving umbilical cord blood to treat acute myeloid leukemia.
According to the researchers since receiving the cord blood, the woman has been in remission and free of HIV for 14 months, without the need of antiretroviral therapy. The donor was also naturally resistant to the virus that causes AIDS.
This new approach could make the treatment available for more people. The case is part of a bigger study led by the University of California, Los Angeles and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore that follows 25 participants with HIV who undergo transplants with stem cells for the treatment of cancer and other conditions.
Researchers believe that this study will increase the knowledge of how to use gene therapy as a viable strategy to develop an HIV cure.
Al Jazeera. (2022, Feb 16). Woman cured of HIV after stem cell transplant. Al Jazeera News Agencies. Retrieved from: