Second Patient Appears To Be Cured Of HIV

Scientists report a second patient seems to have been cured of HIV.

From The New York Times:

The news comes nearly 12 years to the day after the first patient known to be cured, a feat that researchers have long tried, and failed, to duplicate. The surprise success now confirms that a cure for H.I.V. infection is possible, if difficult, researchers said.

Publicly, the scientists are describing the case as a long-term “remission.” In interviews, most experts are calling it a cure, with the caveat that it is hard to know how to define the word when there are only two known instances.

Both milestones resulted from bone-marrow transplants given to infected patients. But the transplants were intended to treat cancer in the patients, not H.I.V.

Bone-marrow transplantation is unlikely to be a realistic treatment option in the near future. Powerful drugs are now available to control H.I.V. infection, while the transplants are risky, with harsh side effects that can last for years.

But rearming the body with immune cells similarly modified to resist H.I.V. might well succeed as a practical treatment, experts said.

The first patient to be ‘cured’ is Timothy Ray Brown, 52, who currently lives in Palm Springs, California. Brown has leukemia and underwent two bone-marrow transplants before he was declared ‘cured’ of HIV.

Scientists are currently tracking 38 patients with HIV who received bone marrow transplants.

This new, second patient (only referred to as ‘the London patient’) is number 36 on that list.