2nd HIV patient in 'sustained remission,' physicians say

Share
2nd HIV patient in 'sustained remission,' physicians say

"As long as Timothy Brown was the only [one], we'd have always wondered if there [was] something unique about it"'.

The case report comes 10 years after the first such case known as the "Berlin Patient". Yet Brown's case remained the lone success since then.

Both patients received stem cell transplants from donors carrying a genetic mutation that prevents expression of an HIV receptor, known as CCR5.

But there was something unusual about the person who gave the London patient stem cells.

"The concept of a cure for HIV is really being able to remove the virus", David Rosenthal, DO, PhD, medical director of the Center for Young Adult, Adolescent, and Pediatric HIV at Northwell Health in Great Neck, New York, who was not involved in the London patient's care, tells Health. Normally, the HIV binds to these receptors and attacks the cells, but a deletion in the CCR5 gene stops the receptors from functioning properly.

"At the moment the only way to treat HIV is with medications that suppress the virus, which people need to take for their entire lives, posing a particular challenge in developing countries", said the study's lead author, Professor Ravindra Gupta from the University of Cambridge, who led the study while at UCL.

Of course, remission is not necessarily a "cure" (though many have referred to this landmark achievement as such), Gupta told Cohen at Science. Other, more generally applicable strategies that may, in time, lead to a cure are also being investigated.

Vial of blood
Has a second person with HIV been cured?

In 2003, the male patient was diagnosed with HIV infection and developed an Aids defining cancer, advanced Hodgkin's Lymphoma, in 2012. Gupta did not expect this transplant to work either. "So while it's truly aspirational, I wouldn't say it's out of the realm of possibility".

In some of the past transplant failures, the donor did not have a mutated CCR5, but the conditioning regimen seemed to have significantly reduced the "reservoirs" of cells in the recipient that have latent HIV infections, invisible to the immune system.

Twelve years ago, Timothy Brown - initially called the "Berlin patient" before he made a decision to go public - had this transplant and has been clear of HIV ever since. Meanwhile, in the decade between the successful cure of Brown and the London patient, none of the other attempts to use the same method have worked.

Now, doctors in Europe are reporting a second case of HIV remission after a similar stem cell transplant. The London patient has been free of the virus for a substantial amount of time, he acknowledges, but at this point, "it's still possible for the virus to come back". "Durable engraftment" of the CCR5 mutants is key to a cure, he concludes.

A patient in the United Kingdom has become the second person in the world to become HIV free after a bone marrow transplant. "That could be a fantastic way forward", Johnston says.

Steven Deeks, an HIV researcher at UCSF, says the results could also boost cure efforts to cripple CCR5 "without the need for heroic interventions such as in the Berlin and London cases". To do this in others, exact match donors would have to be found in the tiny proportion of people - majority of northern European descent - who have the CCR5 mutation that makes them resistant to the virus.

The researchers say the latest findings show that Brown's case was not a one off, and that there are ways to target the CCR5 receptor to treat HIV.

Share

Advertisement

Related Posts

SpaceX Crew Dragon heads home from ISS for Atlantic splashdown
A SpaceX rocket had launched the 16-foot-tall capsule from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida Saturday morning. Musk, also co-founder of electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc, will be watching closely.

North Korea Escalates Rhetoric Following Reports of New Nuclear Activity
The president later said on Wednesday he would be "disappointed" if the North restarted its nuclear and missile programmes. United States political strategist Evan Siegfried questioned whether it was triggered by weapon testing in North Korea .

No backing down from Sarri on Hudson-Odoi
We have to play the second leg and go there with a very good level of attention and application, because we want to qualify". You have to improve, tactically, mentally and physically, at that age. "It's unsafe for him.

Passengers hurt as cruise ship tilts under 115 mph gust
The powerful wind, the couple said, caused the boat to tilt for several minutes - sending chairs and glassware flying. The Norwegian Escape cruise ship was hit by 185km/h winds on Sunday, turning the ship sideways onto its port side.

Tesla Shanghai assembly plant to be completed in May -govt official
The land of Tesla Gigafactory at a groundbreaking ceremony of Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory in Shanghai, China January 7, 2019. The lower priced vehicle is expected to be made available to order in Europe and China in three to six months' time.

Andy Murray upbeat after hip surgery, hopes to play again
Murray had also hoped to play at this year's Wimbledon, a tournament he has won twice. The three-time Grand Slam champion says "I don't feel any pressure to come back".

Weather forecast: United Kingdom braced for 13 inches of snow
Leading bookmakers have even slashed odds on this March becoming the coldest on record from 2-1 to 8-1. But if snow does fall at lower levels it will likely be only one to two inches in thickness.

Manchester United fan stabbed in Paris after controversial Champions League win
The goal turned out to be the victor , sending Manchester United through to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2014. Manchester United were not the only side to benefit from VAR.

Samsung Galaxy Fold follow-up may come within next year
Either way, Kuo believes in-display fingerprint scanners are the preferred way of unlocking for consumers as it's more convenient. Galaxy S10 + would be available in 1TB, 512GB and 128GB storage variants for Rs 1,17,900, Rs 91,900 and Rs 73,900, respectively.

The last Blockbuster in the world will be in Bend, Oregon
The chain shut down its last corporate-owned stores in 2014, but some franchisees have remained operational in the years since. Soon after, Blockbuster began closing its doors, though some franchise locations tried to stick it out.

© 2015 ExpressNewsline. All Rights reserved.