Second man seems to be free of AIDS virus after transplant

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"By achieving [HIV] remission in a second patient using a similar approach, we have shown that the Berlin patient was not an anomaly, and that it really was the treatment ... that eliminated HIV in these two people", lead study author Dr. Ravindra Gupta, a professor in the Division of Infection and Immunity at University College London, said in a statement.

Nearly three years after he received bone marrow stem cells from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that resists HIV infection - and more than 18 months after he came off antiretroviral drugs - highly sensitive tests still show no trace of the man's previous HIV infection.

Both patients received bone marrow stem cells from donors with a rare genetic mutation known as "CCR5 delta 32", which confers resistance to HIV.

The breakthrough comes ten years after the first such case of a patient with HIV going into sustained remission, known as the 'Berlin Patient'. He then underwent a bone-marrow transplant in 2016 after receiving a diagnosis of advanced Hodgkin's lymphoma, initially having been treated with chemotherapy.

"Whilst this type of treatment is clearly not practical for millions of people around the world living with HIV, reports such as this may help in the ultimate development of a cure", said Andrew Freedman, a reader in infectious diseases at Cardiff University in Wales.

But there was something unusual about the person who gave the London patient stem cells.

That result raised hopes that HIV could be eradicated through a medical procedure and cure people of HIV infection.

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Gupta's patient, a male resident of the United Kingdom who prefers to remain anonymous, was diagnosed with HIV infection in 2003 and began antiretroviral therapy in 2012. This makes it a tricky and unfeasible option as a treatment for other HIV-positive patients in the near future.

To learn more about the factors that favor a cure, amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, a New York City-based foundation, in 2014 began to fund a consortium of worldwide researchers who do transplants in HIV-infected people with blood cancers.

Gupta has described the man as "functionally cured" and "in remission". He has now been in remission for 18 months, and regular testing has confirmed that his HIV viral load remains undetectable. The new findings were published online Monday by the journal Nature.

Mr Brown hopes that the London patient's cure proves as durable as his own, NYT reported.

Twelves years ago, to the day, news about the first patient cured of HIV was announced - something researchers had been struggling to do for a very long time.

The treatment that we have means that someone with HIV should have a normal life-expectancy. A second, less common form of HIV, could still cause infection despite a transplant like this. His transplant beat cancer without any threatening side-effects, and the transplanted immune cells that were made resistant to HIV appeared to have replaced all the HIV-vulnerable cells in his blood. This week Brown celebrated 12 years free of HIV at a community cure workshop prior to the conference. The gene is known to create a protein that is crucial for HIV to invade blood cells.

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