The American institute City of Hope announces the remission of a patient infected for 33 years with HIV thanks to a stem cell transplant.
A new hope in the fight against AIDS. An American patient has just been cured of HIV and leukemia, announced Wednesday the cancer research institute City of Hope located in California. The 66-year-old patient received a stem cell transplant for nearly three and a half years for his blood cancer. During this treatment, the HIV virus simply stopped replicating in his body.
“When I was diagnosed with HIV in 1988, like many others, I thought it was a death sentence,” the man tells a statement issued by the Institute.
The man who wishes to remain anonymous was declared in remission 17 months after stopping his treatment for the virus. “He might have been able to stop the therapies earlier, but he wanted to wait to be vaccinated against Covid-19,” City of Hope reports.
“Opens up opportunities for older patients.”
This is the fourth patient in history to go into long-term remission from HIV and, more importantly, the oldest patient to date.
“The patient’s case opens up opportunities for older patients living with HIV and blood cancer to receive a transplant and achieve remission for both diseases if a donor with a rare genetic mutation can be identified,” the institute notes.
Because this cure was made possible by a rare genetic mutation received during his stem cell transplant: the homozygous CCR5 Delta 32. It prevents HIV from replicating in the blood and thus makes the patient resistant to the virus.
“A medical milestone”
“We were delighted to let him know that his HIV is in remission and that he no longer needs to take the antiretroviral treatment he had been on for more than 30 years,” says Professor Jana Dickter, a doctor in the division of infectious diseases at the institute.
“He saw many of his friends die of AIDS in the early days of the disease and was so stigmatized when he was diagnosed with HIV in 1988. But now he can celebrate this medical milestone,” she enthuses.
“We are proud to have been a part of helping the patient achieve remission from HIV and leukemia. It makes us humble to know that our pioneering science in bone marrow and stem cell transplants, as well as our pursuit of the best precision cancer medicine, helped transform this patient’s life,” says Robert Stone, president and CEO of City of Hope.