According to researchers, a 66-year-old man may have just become the oldest person to possibly be cured of HIV following a stem cell transplant.
The man had HIV for over 31 years before receiving a blood stem cell transparent back in 2019 for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The cells used for the procedure were from a donor with a rare genetic mutation which prevented HIV from entering human cells, making them resistant to most strains of the deadly virus.
The latest patient becomes the fourth individual to be cured in this way and was dubbed the “City of Hope” patient after the facility he was treated at due to wanting to remain anonymous.
This patient also was known to have HIV the longest, as he was first diagnosed in 1988.
Sharon Lewin, president-elect of the IAS, described a cure as the “holy grail” and said the case provided “continued hope … and inspiration” for people with HIV and the wider scientific community.
According to scientists, the procedure is successful due to the donor’s stem cells having a rare genetic mutation that lacks the receptors used by HIV to infect cells.
Doctors found no signs of HIV in the man after he stopped antiretroviral therapy (ART) over a year ago.
Jana Dickter, an infectious disease doctor who treated the patient, said:
“He saw many of his friends and loved ones become ill and ultimately succumb to the disease and had experienced some stigma associated with having HIV. His success “opens up the opportunity potentially for older patients to undergo this procedure and go into remission from both their blood cancer and HIV.”
More details of this amazing story from The Daily Wire:
A woman in Spain in her 70s, who was diagnosed at 59, also has showed promising signs of potentially beating the virus after she stopped antiretroviral therapy (ART) more than a decade ago.
The woman quickly received antiretroviral drugs for nine months after becoming infected with the disease, as well as other treatments to boost her body’s immune system, The Wall Street Journal reported. Researchers discovered that she has been able to keep the virus under control because her body “has high levels of two types of immune cells that the virus normally suppresses and that probably help control viral replication.”
Steven Deeks, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco who leads research for an HIV cure, said that new advances in medical technology could soon lead to cures for the disease that can be widely distributed.
“There are fancy new gene editing methods emerging that might one day be able to achieve a similar outcome with a shot in the arm,” he said.
Sources: TheDailyWire, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal