The 24e international AIDS conference begins this Friday, July 29 in Montreal with good news. Indeed, researchers recently announced that a fourth person just cure from HIV. This event brings glimmer of hope to the tens of millions of people living with the immunodeficiency virus around the world. L’66 year old man, baptized the patient “City of Hope”, is the second person whose recovery has been announced this year.
This City of Hope patient, like those in Berlin and London before him, received a bone marrow transplant originally intended to treat cancer. Nowadays, another patient in Dusseldorf also appears to be in remission following a bone marrow transplant.
The bone marrow transplant can then eventually become a very promising treatment for the millions of HIV-positive people around the world.
City of Hope was among the first infected
Patient City of Hope received his diagnosis in 1988 like a death sentence. Being diagnosed at the beginning of the epidemic, he suffered from stigma and of the remoteness of his relatives. He was also traumatized to see some of his relatives fall seriously ill to finally succumb to disease.
Jana Dickter, a infectious disease specialist, announced that City of Hope patient remission brings a glimmer of hope older HIV-positive people who also have cancer. The latter is the oldest patient to have achieved remission following a bone marrow transplant. Today it is more than grateful towards the medical profession.
A promising, but dangerous treatment!
After living with the virus for 31 years through treatments antiretrovirals, City of Hope was recently diagnosed with leukemia. However, following this very risky transplant, he currently seems to be cured of both HIV and cancer. This makes him the patient who has experienced remission and who has lived the longest with the virus.
After further analyzesthe researchers discovered that the marrow which was grafted to him presents a rare CCR5 gene mutation which makes people HIV resistant. A moderate intensity chemotherapy seems to have facilitated the remission of this elderly patient, according to Mr. Dickter. Nevertheless, it is a complex procedure with serious side effects which is not recommended for people who are already severely impaired.