For the second Time in the world, an HIV-Patient after a stem cell Transplantation, virus-free. The researchers report in an article to be published on Tuesday in the journal “Nature” in the MIRROR. After the Transplantation of stem cells from a bone marrow donor, the Patient was for nearly 19 months, virus-free. “We were able to prove so far no HI-Virus,” says the HIV-biologist Ravindra Gupta of Cambridge University, one of the authors of the study. “But it is still too early to refer to him as cured.” Also, it is not a treatment breakthrough that can help all HIV patients.
The man was suffering from lymphatic cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma. For the therapy, the Doctors had to him the bone marrow transplant. The selected donor of the stem cells carried a genetic mutation that made him resistant to an infection with the HI Virus. This property he gave his stem cells to the recipient. After the transplant, the Doctors treated the patient for 16 more months with drugs that block a key enzyme for the propagation of the HIV Virus in infected cells. This type of treatment is often used in HIV patients and is as anti-retroviral therapy.
“The London Patient”
This therapy ended 18 months ago. Since then, the Patient is in Remission, that is, he shows no signs of HIV infection, and the Virus is no longer in his body to undetectable. Personal information to the man made the Doctors to protect his privacy. Experts describe it as “London’s patients”.
Previously, Timothy Ray Brown was considered the first and, to date, only one HIV infection-exempt person. Better known as the “Berlin Patient” had treated him Doctors in 2008 at the Charité also with a stem cell therapy, a donor resistant to HIV infection. A gene mutation, the affected immune cells have a Receptor on the surface flawed and therefore is not functional. The HI-Virus uses this as a kind of gateway into the cell. Without the functioning of the Receptor of the path remains denied.
This gene mutation, there was Recently a scandal. The Chinese researchers He Jiankui she had smuggled in, according to their own information in the genome of twins. His statement, were the children of China, the first genetically modified babies in the world. The case had sparked strong criticism. He Jiankui is said to have acted without the approval of his University or of the Chinese government. In addition, it is unclear what influence could have the gene mutation on to the children.
Therapy was failed in other patients failed
“The presented case is the first successful repetition of the ‘Berlin patient’,” says Gero Hütter, had treated in 2008, Brown at the Charité successfully and does not participate in the current study was involved. So far, it was not clear whether the successful treatment of the Berlin patient, leave, repeat.
In the case of several other patients the treatment was failed. “A Patient from Essen, suffered a relapse of HIV disease with a mutated strain of the virus, after HIV therapy was discontinued,” says Hütter. In 2013, a Newborn from the USA, the so-called Mississippi Baby, was regarded as cured, after it had received directly after the birth of anti-retro viral therapy. It was after more than two years as virus-free, then the HI-Virus spread again.
A breakthrough in the treatment of HIV, the current case of the UK does not mean so. “Also, in the future, Transplantation with stem cells is not to be an Option for the cure of HIV infection, when the Transplantation of diseases caused by other reason is required,” says Hans-Georg Kräusslich, Director of the Department of Virology at the University clinic in Heidelberg. A stem cell transplant was a massive intervention, which is associated with significant risks. In view of the well-tolerated and effective long-term anti-viral therapy, such an intervention would not be justified.
Infection with HIV occurs through body fluids such as blood, semen and vaginal secretions, but also on the mother’s milk. The HIV Virus gradually destroys the immune system by the number of T-helper cells in the blood lowers dramatically. In the first weeks after infection, flu-like symptoms. Often patients also develop years after the infection has no physical symptoms, therefore many people are still unaware of their infection. When the disease begins, it is called the diagnosis of Aids (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
Aids is defined by various diseases. So-called opportunistic or secondary infections, and tumors, the weak take advantage of immune system. The patient die therefore, not HIV, but a consequence of disease. Since the eighties, worldwide, about 35 million people have died as a result of Aids, 37 million people are currently HIV-positive.