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Fourth and oldest patient to be cured of HIV

Published on 28/07/22 at 12:58pm

A 66 year old man has become the fourth person to be effectively cured of HIV infection following a stem cell transplant, and the oldest patient yet to be cured following the transplant. 

 

The case, presented on Wednesday at the International AIDS Conference in Montreal, has seen the patient in remission for 17 months. The 66 year old was the oldest patient to have successfully undergone the experimental procedure. 

 

The transplant was planned to treat the patient’s leukaemia. However, doctors also sought a donor who was naturally resistant to the virus that causes AIDS. Fifteen years ago, a haematopoietic stem cell transplant was used to confer HIV resistance to acute myeloid leukaemia patient, Timothy Brown, by the same mechanism. 

 

“While a transplant is not an option for most people with HIV, these cases are still interesting, still inspiring and illuminate the search for a cure,” said Dr Sharon Lewin, an infectious disease specialist at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at the University of Melbourne, NBC News has shared. 

 

The patient, not wishing to be identified, is known as the “City of Hope” patient, after the US facility in Duarte, California, where he was treated. 

 

“We monitored him very closely, and to date we cannot find any evidence of HIV replicating in his system,” said Dr. Jana Dickter, an associate clinical professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at City of Hope. Dickter is on the patient’s treatment team and presented his case at this week’s conference. 

 

The patient has been on antiretroviral therapy (ART) to control his condition for over 30 years. 

 

“Because this patient was the oldest to receive a stem cell transplant [of the four patients cured of HIV in this way], has lived the longest with HIV prior to his transplant, and received the least immunosuppressive therapy, we now have evidence that if the right stem cell donor is found for patients living with HIV who develop blood cancers, we can use newer and less intensive chemotherapy regimen options to try to achieve a dual remission,” shared Jana Dickter, a clinician working with the patient. “This may open up whole new opportunities for older patients living with HIV and blood cancer.”

 

Ana Ovey

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