Acute myeloid leukaemia patient Timothy Brown, who became known as the "Berlin patient", was treated aggressively more than a decade ago in an HIV-curing approach which hasn't been successfully repeated until Professor Ravindra Gupta and colleagues showed the effectiveness of a less aggressive form of treatment.
Both patients received bone marrow stem cells from donors with a rare genetic mutation known as "CCR5 delta 32", which confers resistance to HIV. Researchers reportedly say that it is too early, however, to say the patient has been fully cured.
According to reports, the patient is only the second person ever reported to have been cleared of the virus using this method.
Regardless of the results of these 45 procedures, Fauci tells Time's Park that bone marrow transplants are "absolutely not" a viable treatment option for the vast majority of H.I.V. patients.
The "London Patient" is only the second person known to have shaken off the HIV virus during a 40-year AIDS epidemic that has infected 70 million people and killed half of them. In addition to chemotherapy, he underwent a haematopoietic stem cell transplant from a donor with two copies of the CCR5 Δ32 allele in 2016.
"We waited 16 months before stopping in the post-transplant period just to make sure that the cancer was in remission, the patient was well and that the measures we had of the HIV reservoir in the body showed that there was very, very little virus there, if any at all", he said. He stopped taking his HIV medication in September 2017.
Some who have lived with HIV for years said the fact that it can be managed obscures the health complications that can arise from both the virus and its medication.
Some 37 million people across the globe have HIV. Replacing immune cells with those that don't have the CCR5 receptor appears to be key in preventing HIV from rebounding after the treatment.
It's thought to be a landmark moment in the quest of a widespread cure, which could pave the way for future therapies and studies.
A person recognized exclusively because the "London affected person" seemed to be cured of H.I.V., making him the second recognized affected a person in practically 12 years, giving scientists new hope that an eventual treatment is feasible, studies stated Monday.
The research team is presenting the findings today (March 5) at the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle.
Dr. Gero Hütter, who treated the Berlin patient and is now medical director at Cellex Collection Center in Dresden, Germany, said in an email to CNN that the treatment used for the London patient is "comparable" to the one he pioneered. The inability to find HIV in their blood, coupled with the missing CCR5 receptor, constitutes the HIV viral remission of the London patient announced earlier this week. However, this new case adds to the evidence that using gene therapy to delete CCR5 receptors from T cells may be a feasible approach. The circumstances of this cure do not apply to those of us who have been living with a HIV diagnosis for many years; the risks involved are too great.