A 53-year-old man in Germany, referred to as the ‘Düsseldorf patient’, has become the fifth person to be declared cleared of HIV after a bone marrow transplant that replaced his cells with HIV-resistant stem cells from a donor.
The procedure was first used on Timothy Ray Brown, the ‘Berlin patient,’ in 2007, and later on the ‘London patient’ in 2019. The man was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia and had low levels of HIV due to antiretroviral therapy.
Over the next five years, researchers took tissue and blood samples from the patient and found immune cells that specifically reacted to HIV.
The virus failed to replicate in mice that received the patient’s immune cells. The latest study shows the success of the procedure in patients with leukaemia and HIV, but it is unlikely to be rolled out to those without leukaemia due to the high risk involved.
Several teams are testing the potential to use genetically modified stem cells from a person’s own body to eliminate the need for donor cells.
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