The man was cured of AIDS. Second time in history
A group of medical scientists from University College London at the Conference on Retroviral and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle (USA) announced their scientific work on the successful cure of an anonymous patient from AIDS. The article will be published in the journal Nature on Tuesday evening.
A man called the “London patient”, by analogy with the “Berlin” patient, the first known case of HIV treatment, has been a carrier of the virus since 2003. After 11 years, he developed AIDS and, against his background, Hodgkin's lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes). To treat a tumor in May 2016, doctors decided to attempt to transplant hematopoietic stem cells from a donor with resistance to one of the HIV strains to this person.
The patient surprisingly easily underwent transplantation, and after 16 months he stopped taking antiretroviral therapy. The virus RNA in his body has not been detected for a year and a half. In official communications, doctors cautiously called the condition of the "London patient" a prolonged remission, but in informal conversations the word "cure" is more often heard.
The human immunodeficiency virus enters the blood cells by binding to CXCR4 or CCR5 receptors. Approximately 10 percent of the indigenous population of Europe has a mutation that alters the CCR5 receptors, that is, is immune to the type of HIV that uses this pathway.
The first patient cured of AIDS, Timothy Ray Brown, also received the bone marrow of an HIV-resistant donor as a cancer treatment in 2007. Despite the fact that he almost died as a result of post-transplant therapy, he went into remission and the RNA of the virus in his blood has not been detected for more than 10 years.
Unfortunately, treatment of AIDS with bone marrow transplantation from such donors cannot be a massive and generally accepted procedure. Firstly, this is a very risky procedure for the patient’s life and can be used only if necessary for severe concomitant diseases. Secondly, it will help far from all patients, since about half of HIV-infected people carry a strain that targets CXCR4 coreceptors.
This scientific work is an important milestone in the fight of humanity against HIV and AIDS. Currently, European scientists are observing another 32 patients who received bone marrow from HIV-resistant donors during treatment of blood diseases and the lymphatic system associated with AIDS.