It seems like doctors and scientists are finally approaching the point when they will soon be able to cure the diseases that have been tormenting the humanity for ages, one of them being HIV virus which leads to AIDS.
Source: The Conversation
As reported by CBS, there are currently two registered cases in the world of the patients that have been cured of AIDS with the help of stem cells therapy, one of the cases being quite recent. The two lucky people are known as the “Berlin patient” and the “London patient”.
The “Berlin patient”
The “Berlin patient” is a man named Timothy Ray Brown. He is a citizen of the United States who was suffering from AIDS for a long time. Brown underwent treatment in Germany, which included a difficult procedure called stem cells transplant. Most doctors felt pretty sceptical about such type of treatment, because it was very poorly researched and there were no previous successful cases.
However, the miracle happened. After the course of treatment, Brown stopped taking drugs that control the virus. 12 years have passed, and the “Berlin patient” still shows no signs of having HIV in his body. Such a breakthrough made him the first man officially cured of AIDS.
The “London patient”
After the success of Timothy Ray Brown, the doctors decided to repeat the experiment. The next patient was a British man who has not yet revealed his identity.
His story began back in 2003, when he was first diagnosed with HIV. The man only started taking drugs to suppress the virus in 2012, it is still unclear why it took him so long to seek medical help.
In the same year, the “London patient” developed the type of cancer called Hodgkin lymphoma. In 2016, doctors offered him to conduct a stem cell transplantation to cure the tumour.
Meanwhile, they made a decision to kill two birds in one stone and try to use the therapy to cure the patient’s AIDS as well. The British man received a bone marrow transplant 3 years ago. 1.5 years ago he stopped taking HIV-suppressing drugs and has remained clear of the disease up till now.
The method of treatment
It turned out that the doctors used a special kind of donors for both procedures. The research show that some residents of North European regions have a special gene mutation which makes them immune to HIV virus. The doctors used their bone marrow for transplantation to the two infected patients, and the gene assimilated in their bodies.
Certainly, the technology still lacks research and has its disadvantages (it is expensive and can’t be applied massively), many scientists believe that it is a crucial step in developing a drug that will be able to wipe out AIDS completely in the future.
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