Stem cell transplant cures HIV infection, say doctors

‘Berlin patient’ is cured of HIV as a result of treatment in 2007


Doctors who treated a HIV-infected patient suffering from leukemia say a stem cell transplant has left him HIV-free. In 2007, Timothy Ray Brown was treated with bone marrow stem cells from a donor with a natural resistance to HIV infection, which is said to be the reason Brown is now HIV-free. A follow-up report in the medical journal Blood argues that based on extensive test results, “It is reasonable to conclude that cure of HIV infection has been achieved in this patient.”


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Stem cell transplant cures HIV infection, say doctors

  1. The very research Bush shut down.

    • These stem cells were from bone marrow. Regardless of what Bill Clinton said on "Larry King Live," an embryo is a fertilized egg (which is later referred to as a fetus). There is a big difference between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. At this time, the most significant breakthroughs seem to have come from the use of adult stem cells, from skin, etc.

      • Embryonic stem cells are also found in the "cord blood" when it is harvested after the birth of full term baby. Let's not make this scientific breakthru a debate about something it is clearly not.

  2. Like many things in this world.. stem cell research will be our best friend and worst enemy.

    • The only enemy is ignorance.

    • hmm our worst friend in what way?

  3. Hopefully promising. Stem cells may open many pathways for medical advancement but only if research is allowed to proceed forward. A good many people will have one ailment in their lifetime that potentially limits the quality of life that they lead.

  4. A life for a life eh?

    Things have a funny way of working out sometimes.

    • How is it a life for a life?

    • These were adult stem cells. Not stem-cells from embryos…

    • Just goes to show how little these religious lunatics actually understand about things they're against.

  5. The California Institute for Regenerati­ve medicine–­California­'s stem cell agency– has sunk at least $40 million into really important follow-up research to the case of the Berlin Patient. But the US National Institutes of Health is spending only 3% of its AIDS research funding on actually finding a cure that could be used on millions of people, and has been largely uninterest­ed in following up on the Berlin Patient case. Activists have launched a major campaign for a cure. Please sign a letter to the NIH calling for more money for AIDS cure research–­and you can see a photo of the doctor who cured the Berlin Patient–a­t our web site: http://www.AIDSPo­licyProjec­

    • Thank you for the heads-up, I will be sure to do so.

    • I would like to enquire as to where the other funding is going if not toward a cure. Could it be that the bulk of funding is going toward finding a way of preventing the spread of the disease either through vaccination or some sort of barrier. I understand that the Bill Gates Foundation has been working hard to come up with a way to stop this terrible disease from spreading. It is much easier to conquer the illness if we can prevent it from occuring rather than keep trying to play catchup after it has already struck.

  6. An extremely dangerous cure for one HIV-positive man with a gene mutation found in less than 1% of Caucasian-only population (also requiring a perfectly-matched marrow donor) is notable, promising even, but very far from the "HIV cure" being touted by irresponsible media and twitterers. It's frustrating to see folks triumphantly cheering, when thousands of men, women and children died of HIV today and will tomorrow, too. To wipe out HIV, we need universal access to the medications we already have, NOW.

    • It's the first ever HIV cure. A breakthrough.

      Now we know how to do it, we can do it with more people.

      For HIV and a raft of other diseases.

  7. Since this is the FIRST person in the history of the disease who has actually been CURED. I'd say it is worth every bit of the attention it's getting. In fact this should be up there with the moon landing! Granted it's not as simple as it initially sounds but it's still a MASSIVE step forward.

  8. Strange that many find something repulsive and dangerous about using stem cells that come from various sources in a human body. Yet they find little wrong with downing engineered chemicals and fungus for mere treatment of symptoms.

    For those that say we don't know enough, then fund some research. Ethical/moral restrictions have already boosted research that don't use embryo's as a source for stem cells. That's not issue it was even five years ago.

    The only losers here are pharmaceutical companies that hold patents and a death grip on treatable diseases. Why they wouldn't be taking a lead in future medicine is business, nothing more.

  9. Hey folks, no one has been complaining about using adult stem cells. Many people are against embryonic stem cells. Remember a human embryo is a fertilized egg–the beginning of human life.

    • Remember Prairieanne, an embroyic stemcell can be culled from core blood following birth. No one has to die!

  10. No one has thought to ask where one would find a donor with natural immunity to HIV and how that someone would know they have natural immunity to HIV. I do recall a study several years ago involving several prostitutes in Amsterdam who despite being exposed to HIV, never tested positive for the illness. Is this how they identified donors?