Patient cured of HIV after bone marrow transplant

Medicine and science are growing by leaps and bounds and although there are some immunological diseases such as HIV, which despite long investigations, have not yet found a cure, recent cases of recovered patients could be the hope or the beginning to find a treatment in order to combat the virus.

Recently, the case of a patient in California was reported as the fourth case of a person who managed to be cured of HIV. This is a 66-year-old man who, after receiving a bone marrow transplant as part of his leukemia treatment, doctors discovered that there was a rare mutation in the donor’s genes that managed to cure the patient of the AIDS-causing virus. .

gloved hand holding a blood sample for HIV testing

The incident occurred at the City of Hope hospital, a cancer and research center in Duarte, California, United States. The patient, who has had HIV since 1988 and has been taking antiretroviral treatment for more than 30 years as part of his treatment, was told by local doctors that receiving a stem cell transplant would be a good option to improve his health and postpone his death. Life expectancy.

Although at the moment the crucial mutation to defeat the virus is rare and it is not certain that this procedure will revolutionize HIV treatment, doctors do not rule out the idea that gene editing could one day be used to recreate the mutation and cure patients with the virus.

City of Hope hospital facade in California

According to information published in Washington Postafter the patient, who asked not to be identified, was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, received an unrelated donor in 2019, stem cells that were specially chosen for having a genetic mutation resistant to HIV.

According to some research, this mutation is known as CCR5-delta 32, a protein that only certain people have and because of it, the virus cannot enter or attack their immune system. For this reason, the City of Hope patient found himself a candidate among that small select group of people who are eligible to receive such a transplant.

explanation of the CCR5 protein that prevents people from developing HIV

After receiving the transplant, the patient has been in remission for almost a year and a half, the virus is now virtually undetectable, and the doctors have reported that he no longer needs to take antiretroviral treatment.

When I was diagnosed with HIV in 1988, like many others, I thought it was a death sentence. I never thought that I would live to see the day that I no longer have HIV.

– City of Hope patient

hands of a scientist analyzing the blood of a person with HIV

Although bone marrow transplantation from donors with mutations in the CCR5 protein could be a promising treatment for HIV, experts say that for now it is not the best option for the more than 38 million patients affected by AIDS, since that stem cell transplants carry a significant risk, which is why so far it has only been tried in patients with HIV who have developed cancer.

It should be noted that this patient is not the only one who has managed to be cured of this virus, but he is considered the longest-lived and the person who has been infected the longest.

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