A Fourth Person Is Effectively Cured of HIV And Its The Oldest Patient Yet: HIV researchers claimed on Wednesday that a fourth person had been “cured,” but the risky surgery for patients also fighting cancer may be scant solace for the tens of millions of people worldwide who are infected with the virus.
On the eve of the International AIDS Conference, which opens on Friday in Montreal, Canada, a 66-year-old man termed the “City of Hope” patient was pronounced in remission.
Researchers stated in February that a US woman called “the New York patient” had also gone into remission, making him the second person to be declared cured this year.
After a bone marrow transplant to cure cancer, the City of Hope patient, like the patients in Berlin and London before him, experienced a long-term remission from the virus.
According to prior reports, the Duesseldorf patient is the fifth person to be declared cancer-free.
According to an infectious disease specialist at the City of Hope, Jana Dickter, the latest patient’s remission could be a sign of hope for older HIV sufferers who also have cancer.
An article by Dickter, the study’s principal author, was presented at a pre-conference in Montreal but has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Thank you very much!’
“Like many others, I thought I had been sentenced to death when I was diagnosed with HIV in 1988,” said the patient, who does not wish to be recognized.
In a statement from City of Hope, he remarked, “I never believed I would live to see the day that I no longer have HIV.” “I can’t express how grateful I am enough.”
According to Dickter, the patient had told her about the stigma he faced in the early 1980s, during the height of the AIDS pandemic.
A lot of his acquaintances and loved ones became ill or died from cancer, which he witnessed firsthand, according to her.
She described him as having “full-blown AIDS” at one point but said that he had taken part in early trials of antiretroviral medication, which has allowed many of the 38 million people worldwide living with HIV to continue to do so.
He had HIV for 31 years, the longest period of remission of any preceding patient.
His leukemia was treated with stem cells from an unrelated donor, who had a rare mutation in the CCR5 gene, which makes people resistant to HIV after he was diagnosed in 2019.
HIV and cancer remission have been him since March 2021 when he was vaccinated for COVID-19, the new strain of HIV.
Because of the patient’s success, Dickter believes that reduced-intensity chemotherapy may be an option for additional HIV cancer patients who are beyond the age of 50.
HIV patients aren’t likely to benefit from it because it’s an extremely complicated operation that has major negative effects, she said.
First, “you kill your own immune system momentarily,” an HIV expert at the University of California, San Francisco who wasn’t involved in the research stated.
This would never have been possible for him if he hadn’t had cancer, the man told AFP.
The ‘Holy Grail’
Also presented at the conference was a case study of a 59-year-old Spanish lady with HIV who, after ceasing antiretroviral therapy, had maintained an undetectable viral load for 15 years!
Sharon Lewin, the president-elect of the International AIDS Society, which organizes the meeting, noted that the virus was not as high as in the City of Hope patients.
A cure for HIV/AIDS, according to Lewin, is still a long way off.
In the past, we’ve only seen a few single cure instances, and the two presented today to provide the scientific community and those living with HIV new hope.
One of the most promising developments in HIV detection is the discovery of a “needle in the haystack” in an individual cell, which is “really fascinating.”
An author of the new research, Deeks, described it as an “unprecedented deep dive into the biology of the infected cell” during a conference presentation.
A cell infected with HIV has a number of distinct properties, according to the researchers.
Deeks noted that it has a better proliferative capacity than others, is difficult to destroy, and is both resistant and difficult to detect.
“This is why HIV is a lifetime infection.”
A more widely available remedy using CRISPR gene-editing technology, however, might be traced back to cases such as the City of Hope patients.
It is my belief that if you can eliminate HIV and CCR5, the entry point for HIV, you can cure someone, according to Deeks.
Assuming we get to the point where we can transport an enzyme into cells and knockdown CCR5, we could hypothetically eliminate viruses by administering an injection to the arm.
For the time being, “But that’s just science fiction.”