For so many years now, the medical world has been combating the disease HIV. Most HIV patients are been treated to manage the situation and reduce the deathly effects of the disease but still no they had been no permanent cure for the diseases. Just recently news from London has suggested that researchers may start to turn things around. An HIV patient officially appeared cured of the disease all thanks to a bone marrow stem cell transplant. This seems to be a mark in the history of science for the second time ever.
The man, who was since 2003 diagnosed of HIV, now appears to have been completely healed of the virus by a special genetic mutation that was present in the stem cells of a donor.
This outstanding breakthrough used the natural HIV-fighting power of a mutation known as “CCR5 delta 32” which helps certain people to resistant to the virus. Transplanting of bone marrow stem cells from one donor with that very specific mutation has apparently cured the “London patient,” of his long lasted HIV infection.
The London Patient
Testing over and over again for the past 18 months have clearly shown no traces of HIV in his system, and this case is same with that of the first and only previously documented case of cured HIV in 2007. That man who was known as "Berlin patient", Timothy Ray Brown, had a similar bone marrow transplant which lead to him being cured of the disease.
This trending development is clearly big news for researchers who had been hoping to cure HIV on a larger scale. This London patient had ultimately no option but to try out the experimental treatment when he got diagnosed of Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the year 2012. Chemotherapy together with the stem cell transplants lead Ravindra Gupta, the researcher called a “last chance at survival” for the patient.
The said mutation that gives resistance to HIV is greatly rare, it only appears in a small fraction of the population. Treating an HIV infected patient with bone marrow stem cells from a person with the beneficial mutation means that you find a person who matches the recipient’s biology and also has a rare mutation.
Nonetheless, now that science has clarity that the earlier Berlin patient’s HIV cure was not just a mere strange fluke, it should create room for new gene-level treatments for the disease.