If we talk about the most deadly diseases, AIDS is the first one that pops up in our mind. While doctors and scientists are continuously working towards eliminating the disease, it seems they are slowly heading towards a cure for the same!
- According to The Guardian, the london patient wished to stay anonymous.
- He was tested positive for HIV in the year 2003.
- In the year 2012, he found out that he was suffering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a rare kind of blood cancer.
- And in 2016, he was suggested by his doctors to get a bone marrow transplant done.
- A donor was found whose stem cells had
a HIV-resistantmutation named CCR5 delta 32.
- The transplant was successful and he was taken off antiretroviral medicine (the treatment for HIV-positive patients).
- Three years after the transplant and 18 months since he stopped taking the drugs, his tests show no signs of the HIV virus.
- He was then declared “functionally cured” by his doctors but not fully cured of AIDS as it is too early to say that.
- Professor and HIV biologist, Ravindra Gupta, who was one of the lead doctors of the London patient explains that bone marrow transplant as a cure is difficult, risky and expensive.
- The number of donors with the need mutation is limited and it is not always possible to find a match.
- Ravindra Gupta said that this case provides other leads that can be explored.
“We need to understand if we could knock out this [CCR5] receptor in people with HIV, which may be possible with gene therapy.”
- The fact that the patient was “cured” of both cancer and AIDS keeps the scientists hopeful in finding a way to inject a patient with modified immune cells that can resist the HIV virus.