A patient in Germany has been cured of HIV with a stem cell transplant, according to research published by Dr. Bjorn-Erik Ole Jensen and others.
The patient, 53, who is only the third person to be cured of the condition using stem cell treatment and appears to be the fifth person to be cured overall had been off his anti-retroviral medicine, or suppressants, for four years and not relapsed.
Similar to the other two stem cell transplant patients – one in Berlin and another in London – the man, in Dusseldorf, had the transplant to treat leukaemia, that had developed alongside the HIV infection.
More than 10 years after the transplant and four years after ending his HIV therapy, he is in good health.
“The absence of a viral rebound and the lack of immunological correlates of HIV-1 antigen persistence are strong evidence for HIV-1 cure,” the study states.
Researchers say the virus not returning is the result of thorough scientific and therapeutic preparation and monitoring, adding that the study is the longest and most precise diagnostic monitoring of a patient following a stem cell transplantation.
The team, led by medics at Dusseldorf University Hospital, hope the information they have gained will help more studies into cures for HIV.
The Dusseldorf patient was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), a form of life-threatening blood cancer, six months after starting his HIV therapy, and underwent the stem cell transplant in 2013.
In 2018, after constant monitoring by doctors, the anti-viral HIV therapy – which had ensured any residual HIV was kept under control up to that point – was ended.
In recent years, a man from California has been cured of HIV after his diagnosis in 1988, while Timothy Ray Brown, known as the Berlin Patient, was cured in 2007 – but later died from cancer.