A stem cell transplant has cured an AIDS patient, researchers have announced.
The 53-year-old patient is the third person to be cured of the disease using the therapy.
He appears to be the fifth person to be cured.
He has not taken antiretroviral drugs or inhibitors for four years and has not relapsed.
Similar to two other stem cell transplant patients (one in Berlin and the other in London), the man in Düsseldorf received a transplant for a blood disease, in his case leukemia, which is Develops with HIV infection.
More than 10 years after his transplant and four years after ending his HIV treatment, he is in good health.
“I still vividly remember my family doctor’s words: ‘Don’t be so sad. Together we will experience that AIDS is curable’,” he said.
“At the time, I considered the statement an alibi. Today, I am even more proud of my global team of doctors who managed to cure my disease HIV – Of course, there is leukemia at the same time.
“This Valentine’s Day, I celebrated the 10th anniversary of my bone marrow transplant with my bone marrow donor in attendance as the guest of honor.”
The lack of return of the virus was the result of thorough scientific and therapeutic preparation and monitoring, the researchers said, adding that this study represents the longest and most precise diagnostic monitoring of patients after stem cell transplantation.
Transplants destroy any unhealthy blood cells and replace them with healthy cells taken from the blood or bone marrow, and due to their high risk, can only be performed within the framework of the treatment of other life-threatening diseases.
The team, led by medical staff at the University Hospital in Düsseldorf, hopes that the information they have obtained will lead to more research into HIV treatments.
Experts suggest that research should continue now to help HIV patients overcome the infection without such laborious interventions in the future.
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The Düsseldorf patient was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a life-threatening blood cancer, six months after starting HIV treatment, and underwent a stem cell transplant in 2013.
In 2018, antiviral HIV therapy — ensuring any remaining HIV was kept under control — ended under the constant monitoring of doctors.
On behalf of the international team, Dr Bjorn-Erik Ole Jensen said: “Following our in-depth research, we can now confirm that it is fundamentally possible to prevent HIV replication on a sustainable basis by combining two key approaches.
“On the one hand, we found that the viral reservoir in long-lived immune cells is largely depleted, and on the other hand, HIV drug resistance is transferred from the donor immune system to the recipient, ensuring that the virus does not have the opportunity to spread again.
“Further research is now required on how this can be achieved outside of the narrow framework conditions we describe.”
The journal Nature Medicine published the study.
Last few years, A man from California has been cured Timothy Ray Brown, known as the Berlin patient, was cured in 2007 after being diagnosed with HIV in 1988 – but then died of cancer.