The mystery of the Berlin patient, who was cured of HIV, has come one step closer to a solution

Saturday, 11 November 2017, 11:13:35 PM. Scientists have a powerful new way to reproduce the success.
Share Tech & Science HIV A population descended from five monkeys left on an island by Dutch spice traders 500 years ago may be the key to replicating a legendary HIV treatment that left one man functionally cured. Researchers from Oregon Health and Science University published their findings Friday morning in Nature Communications.  This paper means researchers can now look into how and why one person—Timothy Brown, often referred to as "the Berlin patient"—seemed to be functionally cured of HIV after a bone marrow transplant. Brown's transplant came from a donor with a specific kind of mutation that made his immune cells harder for HIV to enter. Eventually, the levels of the virus in his blood became undetectable, even without a daily drug regimen.  Doctors have tried to replicate this transplant success ever since. But none have, Jonah B. Sacha, a researcher at OHSU's Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute and one of the authors of the new paper, told Newsweek. And so far, the experiments have ended badly. Some patients died shortly after the transplants. "There's pretty much a moratorium right now on doing these things in HIV-infected patients," he said. "Even ten years later, we still have no idea how Timothy Brown was actually functionally cured. In order to do that, you really need an animal model that faithfully models what happens in humans."  Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now Timothy Brown—the Berlin patient. T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images ...Read more
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