Rick Wood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/ USA Today

'London patient' may be second man cured of HIV

March 05, 2019 - 9:15 am

LONDON (1010 WINS) -- A stem cell transplant appears to have cured a patient of HIV.

Researchers in the U.K. say the unidentified 'London patient', has had AIDS since 2003, and was treated with stem cell transplants from donors carrying a rare genetic mutation that makes them HIV-resistant. He underwent the procedure in 2016, while also being treated for cancer, but now appears to be virus free.

Vice President and director of research at amFAR, Rowea Jonston said stem cell therapy was first successful about 12 years ago.

"It's clear that people taking anti-viral therapy do still have virus in their blood. Now, you compare and contrast that with Berlin patient or the London patient, where the most sophisticated scientific assets we have do not find any traces of viruses that capable of spreading infection," she said.

Infectious disease professor Graham Cooke, of Imperial College London told CNN, it's an important step in finding a cure.

"If we can understand better why the procedure works in some patients and not others, we will be closer to our ultimate goal of curing HIV," he said.

Although this is the second success of its kind, these transplants can be dangerous and have failed when attempted on other patients.