Fourth person “effectively cured” of HIV, largest patient to date – ScienceAlert

lozenges On Wednesday, researchers announced that a fourth person had been “cured” of it human immunodeficiency virusBut the dangerous procedure for patients also struggles cancer May it be a little comfort to the tens of millions who live with virus all over the world.

The 66-year-old, who was named a “City of Hope” patient after the California center where he was treated, is declared in remission in the run-up to the International AIDS Conference, which begins in Montreal, Canada on Friday.

He is the second person to be declared cured this year, after researchers said in February that an American woman dubbed the New York patient had also recovered.

The City of Hope patient, like the Berlin and London patients before him, achieved lasting remission from the virus after a bone marrow transplant to treat cancer.

It was also previously said that another man, a Düsseldorf patient, had made a recovery, which could bring the number cured to five.

Since the last patient was the oldest thus far, its success may be promising for older HIV-positive patients with cancer, Jana Decker, an infectious disease specialist at City of Hope, told AFP.

Decker is the lead author of the patient research that was announced at a previous conference in Montreal but has not been peer-reviewed.

I am so grateful

“When I was diagnosed with HIV in 1988, like so many others, I thought it was a death sentence,” said the patient, who asked not to be identified.

“I never imagined that I would live to see the day when I no longer have HIV,” he said He said In the City of Hope statement. “I am very grateful.”

Decker said the patient told her of the stigma he suffered in the early days of AIDS epidemic in the eighties.

“He has seen many of his friends and loved ones get very sick and eventually succumb to the disease,” she said.

She said he had had “full AIDS” for some time, but was part of the early trials of antiretroviral therapy, which now allows many of the 38 million people living with HIV globally to live with the virus.

He had been HIV positive for 31 years, longer than any previous patient in remission.

After being diagnosed with leukemia, in 2019 he underwent a bone marrow transplant Stem Cells From an unrelated donor who has a rare mutation in which part of the CCR5 gene is missing, which makes people resistant to HIV.

Wait until he is vaccinated COVID-19 in March 2021 to stop taking antiretroviral drugs and has since recovered from both HIV and cancer.

Decker said low-intensity chemotherapy worked for the patient, which could allow older HIV patients with cancer to get treatment.

She added that it is a complex process that has serious side effects and “is not an appropriate option for most people living with HIV.”

“The first thing you do in a bone marrow transplant is temporarily destroy your immune system,” said Stephen Dix, an HIV expert at the University of California, San Francisco who was not involved in the research.

“You would never do this if you didn’t have cancer,” he told AFP.

“Holy Grail”

Also announced at the AIDS conference was research on a 59-year-old Spanish woman with HIV who maintained an undetectable viral load for 15 years despite stopping antiretroviral therapy.

It’s different from the City of Hope patient, because the virus has remained at a very low level, said Sharon Lewin, president-elect of the International AIDS Society that convened the conference.

“Treatment remains the holy grail of HIV research,” Lewin said.

“We’ve seen quite a few individual cures before, and the two cases presented today provide continued hope for people living with HIV and inspiration for the scientific community.”

She also noted a “really exciting development” toward identifying HIV in an individual cell, which is “a bit like finding a needle in a haystack.”

It was an “unprecedented deep dive into infected cell biology,” said Dix, author of the new research also presented at the conference.

Researchers have determined that an HIV-infected cell has several specific properties.

It can reproduce better than others, Dix said, is harder to kill, and is resilient and hard to spot.

“This is why HIV is a lifelong infection.”

But he said cases like the City of Hope patient offered a potential roadmap toward a more widely available treatment, possibly using CRISPR Gene editing technology.

“I think if you can get rid of HIV, get rid of CCR5, which is the door where HIV goes in, you can cure someone,” Dix said.

“It’s theoretically possible – we’re not there yet – that we could give someone an injection into their arm to deliver an enzyme that gets into cells and knocks out CCR5, and takes out the virus.

“But that’s science fiction for now.”

© AFP

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