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Fifth HIV patient ‘cured’ after ‘risk’ surgery


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Researchers have announced that a 53-year-old German man has recovered from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) after receiving a stem cell transplant in 2013.

The patient, nicknamed the “Düsseldorf Patient” (for privacy reasons), became the fifth person to be cured of a virus that affects more than 30 million people worldwide after such an operation, according to the results, published in the journal Nature Medicine. .

5th man cured of HIV after stem cell transplant

— Forbes (@Forbes) February 20, 2023

The man has stopped taking antiretroviral drugs (which includes taking drugs to suppress the virus) for four years without relapse.

As in the case of two other patients who recovered from the virus (the Berlin patient and the London patient), in the case of the “Düsseldorf patient”, who developed in addition to HIV infection.

A high-risk stem cell transplant cleared the man of any sign of HIV after more than nine years of treatment.

In 2008, the “Düsseldorf Patient” was diagnosed with HIV, and then in 2010 he was prescribed a course of antiretroviral therapy. .

Given the Düsseldorf patient’s dangerous mix of illnesses, doctors decided to take a dangerous path. In 2013, the man received a stem cell transplant. These stem cells are taken from bone marrow or donated blood, and the sample is used to replace the patient’s white blood cells.

In this case, the donor was carefully selected because he had a genetic mutation in the CCR5 gene that makes him resistant to HIV. The idea was to cure the patient’s leukemia while making him genetically resistant to HIV.

After nearly 10 years of donated stem cell transplantation and more than four years of stopping HIV treatment, the researchers announced that the patient no longer had any functional signs predicting a relapse of HIV particles in his body, making him free. viruses effectively. Now the patient feels well.

The researchers noted that the “düsseldorf patient” became the fifth person to be cured of HIV after a transplant of this type of stem cell.

The first person to be cured of HIV was Timothy Ray Brown, whom researchers called the “Berlin patient” in results published in 2009. Three others have also been cured: the “London patient” in 2019 and the “city of hope patient”. “. and a patient named “New York” in 2022.

All four had received a stem cell transplant, a high-risk procedure also called a bone marrow transplant, to treat leukemia and received from donors an HIV-resistant mutation that removes a protein normally used by the virus to enter blood cells.

HIV is known to be one of the most difficult viruses to treat as it can lie dormant, hiding in cells beyond the reach of the immune system or modern drugs.

Cancer stem cell therapy like the one described above is amazing because it can make immune cells resistant to the virus.

However, at the same time, it is potentially fatal and does not always work, even for leukemia. Currently, they are used only as a last resort and in extreme cases.

However, the way some patients are treated with this cutting-edge intervention could “direct future strategies to achieve long-term remission of HIV-1,” write researchers at the University Hospital Düsseldorf in Germany.

The researchers say the fact that the virus has not returned is the result of very thorough scientific and therapeutic preparation and control.

This latest case, they add, is the longest and most accurate diagnostic monitoring of an HIV-positive patient after a stem cell transplant.

Researchers have confirmed that a 53-year-old man in Germany has been cured of HIV, becoming the fifth person in history to avoid the disease that affects 38 million people. @DoctorDarienMD explains this breakthrough and related advances in drug discovery.

– ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) February 20, 2023

An international research team led by doctors from the University Hospital Düsseldorf hopes that the knowledge they have gained will serve as a starting point for planning future research in the field of HIV treatment.

Due to the high risk, stem cell transplants are only performed as part of the treatment of other life-threatening diseases.

The team suggests that research must now continue to enable patients to overcome HIV infection without the need for this complex intervention in the future.

Source: Independent

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