The LIAAC Blog

News and thoughts from the Long Island Association for AIDS Care

Possible Cure? Two Men Treated for Cancer Now HIV Free

by: Gail Barouh

In HIV/AIDS news recently, two men that received bone marrow transplants now appear to be HIV free after cancer treatments. Various media outlets reported on the exciting new progress on the battle against HIV on Wednesday, July 3rd. Among the media coverage was NBC, which stated that one man had been free of HIV for four months while the other had been free of the illness for two months. Both patients have since ceased taking the HIV treatment drugs.

NBC received information from Dr. Timothy Henrich of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston in which Dr. Henrich said: “While these results are exciting, they do not yet indicate that the men have been cured.”

And the results are exciting especially since the statistics keep growing. In 2011 about 34 million people in the world were diagnosed with HIV.

The male patients were given the bone marrow cancer treatments at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Research on these cases were presented at the International AIDS Conference in Malaysia. Among the research were Dr. Henrich and Dr. Daniel Kuritzke’s testimony that the two patients demonstrated a 1,000 to 10,000 HIV cell size reduction.

The report coincides with the findings of similar cases such as Timothy Brown’s 2007 case in which he was treated for leukemia by means of bone marrow transplant, and his cells then began to resist HIV infection. Brown is known as the “Berlin patient” and is currently still free of HIV. Another related case occurred in Mississippi. A baby appeared to be cured of the virus that causes AIDS after taking high-level doses of treatment. The child’s mother did not undergo any prenatal care and did not know that she had HIV before giving birth.

As more progress is made to stop the spread of the virus, LIAAC and the HIV/AIDS community are given hope from this research.

 

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