A man from London becomes second person to be cured of HIV

pharmafile | March 11, 2020 | News story | Research and Development HIV, HIV AIDS, HIV Drug, HIV cure, HIV/AIDS, anti-HIV 

Adam Castillejo is the second man to be cured of HIV, after being free of the virus for more than 30 months.

Known as the “London patient”, the 40-year-old was not treated with HIV drugs but with stem-cell treatment he received for a cancer he had. The donours of the stem cells have an uncommon gene that gives them protection against HIV.

He becomes the second person to be cured of the disease after Timothy Brown in 2011, the “Berlin Patient”, who was cured with a similar treatment and was HIV free after three and half years.

The stem-cell transplants appear to stop the virus being able to replicate inside the body by replacing the patient’s own immune cells with donour ones that resist HIV infection.

Lead researcher Professor Ravindra Kumar Gupta, from the University of Cambridge, said: “This represents HIV cure with almost certainty. We have now had two and a half years with anti-retroviral-free remission. Our findings show that the success of stem-cell transplantation as a cure for HIV, first reported nine years ago in the Berlin Patient, can be replicated.”

However, this treatment is not necessarily a cure for all sufferers of the disease. The stem cell therapy was primarily used to treat cancer not HIV. It is a high-risk treatment, used as a last resort for patients with HIV who also have live threatening conditions like cancer. It probably would not be offered to those on anti-retroviral treatment.

Conor Kavanagh


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