The third person in history to be cured of HIV through stem cell transplantation is a man.
The man had a stem cell transplant ten years ago and is now HIV-free, according to Metro UK.
After remaining healthy for four years without receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART), the 53-year-old, who is referred to as the Dusseldorf Patient, was deemed cured.
The treatment, which is frequently administered to HIV patients in more developed nations, suppresses the virus to the point where symptoms do not appear and it cannot be transmitted to others.
Stem cell transplants were also used to cure the Berlin Patient and the London Patient, two other people.
All three patients were given transplants because they had also contracted HIV and experienced acute blood disorders. The Dusseldorf Patient had leukemia months after beginning ART.
The Dusseldorf patient, who received his transplant in 2013 after being diagnosed with HIV in 2008, stated: The following line from my family doctor sticks in my mind vividly: Don’t stress out about it. Together, we will discover that HIV can be cured.
I dismissed the statement as an alibi at the time. Today, I am even more proud of the international team of doctors who were able to cure me of leukemia and HIV simultaneously.
The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, stated that on Valentine’s Day, he and his donor “as guest of honor” celebrated the 10th anniversary of his transplant.
In a stem cell transplant, unhealthy blood cells are destroyed and healthy stem cells are replaced, typically from another person’s bone marrow.
They are highly susceptible to complications from post-operative infections or transplanted cells attacking host cells.
Because of these risks, they are currently only performed on patients who also have other life-threatening conditions.
Researchers are hopeful that the information gleaned from treating these patients will aid future research into HIV cures, even though it is unlikely that stem cell therapies will become widely available in the near future.
According to Dusseldorf University Hospital’s Dr. Bjorn-Erik Ole Jensen: We are now able to confirm, as a result of our extensive research, that combining two key strategies can fundamentally and sustainably prevent HIV replication.
‘On the one hand, we have a significant depletion of the virus reservoir in long-lived immune cells and, on the other, the transfer of HIV resistance from the donor immune system to the recipient, thereby preventing the virus from spreading once more.
“Further research into how this can be made possible outside of the narrow set of framework conditions we have described is now required.”