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Two More Men Have Been Allegedly Cured by HIV

A “late breaker” finding presented Thursday at the 19th Annual International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC is a shocker, and a very encouraging moment for both victims and combatants of the virus: two more men who contracted both HIV and cancer have been apparently cured of the virus, in cases that seem to confirm that “Berlin patient” Timothy Brown was no fluke.  This finding is huge for the scientific community, and says that we are now making major strides toward finding a cure for HIV and AIDS.

The “Berlin Patient” was a man who caught HIV and eventually lost all traces of the disease in his bloodstream.

“Everyone knows about this ‘Berlin patient’. We wanted to see if a simpler treatment would do the same thing,” Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the overseer of the study, told the assembled body. Brown, who spoke at the conference on Tuesday, was given a bone marrow transplant to treat his leukemia—a transplant that came from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that makes immune cells resistant to infection from the HIV virus. After the transplant replaced his cells with the donor’s healthy, resistant ones, Brown was declared “cured” of AIDS. He has been HIV-free for five years.

One lesson learned from the Brown case is that AIDS victims, who are susceptible to cancer, should not stop taking retroviral drugs before receiving cancer treatment. “That allows the virus to come back and it infects their donor cells,” Kuritzkes explained. And now these additional two men, both treated for lymphoma as well as their AIDS, appear to provide more proof that the overall method used to “cure” Brown is successful.  The findings are significant for the African American community, which is heavily impacted by the AIDS virus.  Gay black men are the leading demographic when it comes to infection, with black women also being at significant risk.

The men both had stem cell treatments and stayed on HIV drugs throughout the process. That turned out to be the key to finding their cure, which scientists were not really even looking for. “We found that immediately before the transplant and after the transplant, HIV DNA was in the cells,” Kuritzkes continued. “As the patient’s cells were replaced by the donor cells, the HIV DNA disappeared.” It appears the donor cells killed off infected cells and took their place, with the retroviral drugs protecting them as they did so. One patient remains free of the virus two years later, the other for three-and-a-half.

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4 Responses to Two More Men Have Been Allegedly Cured by HIV

  1. Fatima Reply

    July 27, 2012 at 10:36 pm


  2. DaVina Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Actually its not a lie. I’ve been paying attention to this for a while now (at least a year, maybe two) from other sources- I followed up with medical journals that I have access to. The only issue, which is not addressed here is the Berlin patient was successful in part because of his race. The reason why it is so rare is because this man, who happens to be white had a rare gene only found in White people. This article doesn’t state information about the two new patients which means its probably accurate but the content was largely reduced. I don’t doubt that this is real but the question is: Has the medical community found a way to make it successful in all other races?

  3. Ausar Nebankh Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 9:17 am

    The question is what is the percentage of the total Black American population with HIV? It is most likely smaller then 1%. Someone knowledgeable about math and arm with the statistics please inform.
    Anyways, it is strange that in 1960 a couple of scientist received the Nobel prize for their study on AIDS before the AIDS epidemic.

  4. Almasi Sidu Jitu Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    DaVina is right. I have been following these developments too. I supervised HIV/AIDS programming for 27 years in the NYC area. The 1st cure was in 2007. The second 2 cures have lasted 2 & 2 1/2 years HIV free. Merck labs has developed a new drug, Zolenza that flushed HIV from the systems of 8 people recently, and there’s very promising work being done with HIV+ people who show no disease progression eventhough they’ve been infected for years. Why their bodies are able to hold this disease at bay for so long is the focus of the research and scientists are making headway. Anyone can find verification for all that I say by an Internet search.

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