LOS ANGELES, CA — (07-28-22) — City Of Hope announced on Thursday that a man who was diagnosed with HIV in 1988 is now free of both the HIV virus and cancer, following a stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor for leukemia. The 66 year-old man is also the fourth person to be reported ‘cured’ of HIV following a stem cell transplant. He is also reportedly the second man to be cured of HIV this year.
The breakthrough announcement was made at the International AIDS Conference in Montreal, Canada. The patient was treated at City of Hope, one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the U.S.A and one of the leading research centers for diabetes and other terminal illnesses.
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The City of Hope also said that they 66 year-old patient is the fourth and oldest patient in the world to go into long-term remission of HIV without the need for antiretroviral therapy (ART) for over a year after receiving stem cells from a donor with a rare genetic mutation.
“We were thrilled to let him know that his HIV is in remission and he no longer needs to take antiretroviral therapy that he had been on for over 30 years,” said Jana K. Dickter, an associate clinical professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at City of Hope who presented the data.
According to City of Hope, the 66 year-old patient received a chemotherapy-based, reduced-intensity transplant regimen prior to the stem cell transplant procedure.
“Reduced-intensity chemotherapy makes the transplant more tolerable for older patients and reduces the potential for transplant-related complications from the procedure,” said the City of Hope in their official press release.
The City of Hope patient has not shown any evidence of having replicating HIV virus since the stem cell transplant.
“We are proud to have played a part in helping the City of Hope patient reach remission for both HIV and leukemia. It is humbling to know that our pioneering science in bone marrow and stem cell transplants, along with our pursuit of the best precision medicine in cancer, has helped transform this patient’s life,” said Robert Stone, the president and CEO of City of Hope, in a statement.
While the announcement provides hope for millions living with HIV, medical experts have cautioned that a procedure like this is not a viable cure for the virus.
In fact Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that physicians should be cautious of this procedure back in February after researchers announced that an American woman had been cured of HIV after undergoing the new transplant procedure using donated umbilical cord blood.
“It is not practical to think that this is something that’s going to be widely available,” said Fauci said. “It’s more of a proof of concept.”
It is well known that a bone marrow transplantation is a dangerous and risky procedure, especially for HIV patients. It is considered by medical professionals to be unethical to perform it on people with HIV, unless the person also has cancer and needs a transplant as part of their cancer treatment.
Despite the fact that this procedure is not available to patients on a global scale, we must not forget the fact that HIV research has come a long way since the 1980s.
In fact today’s HIV treatments and innovation over the years have allowed individuals living with HIV to live a normal and healthy life.
U=U, or Un-detectable=Un-transmittable
If an HIV-positive person begins appropriate HIV treatment, takes their regiment daily and brings the HIV virus in their body to an undetectable level, they cannot transmit the virus to someone, as long as their virus levels remain undetectable on said treatment.
Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
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