A LONDON man appears to be free of HIV after a stem cell transplant.
He is the second apparent success using this medical procedure, after the so-called "Berlin patient", doctors reported.
The Berlin patient is Timothy Ray Brown, an American man treated in Germany, who is still free of HIV 12 years after the procedure. Until now, Brown is the only person thought to have been cured of infection with HIV, the virus that causes Aids.
Such transplants are dangerous and have failed in other patients. They're also impractical to try to cure the millions already infected.
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The latest case "shows the cure of Timothy Brown was not a one-off and can be recreated", said Dr Keith Jerome of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. He added that it could lead to a simpler approach that could be used more widely.
The patient has not been identified. He was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 and started taking drugs to control the infection in 2012. He developed Hodgkin's lymphoma that year and agreed to a stem cell transplant to treat the cancer in 2016.
His doctors believed that with the right kind of donor the London patient might not only have his cancer cured, but possibly even his HIV infection.
Doctors found a donor with a gene mutation that gives natural resistance to HIV. About 1% of people descended from northern Europeans have inherited the mutation from both parents and are immune to most HIV.
The transplant changed the London patient's immune system, giving him the donor's mutation and HIV resistance.
It is too soon to tell if the “cure” will be permanent or not.