Could There Be A Real Cure For HIV?
“London patient”. The presenter of this case was Dr. Ravindra Gupta based at University College London in the UK. This case is also very similar in many ways to the other famous cure case, the Berlin Patient.
The case is a complicated one and there are many variables that could be related to the outcome. We also must use the word “cure” very cautiously because that has not been established yet, and furthermore, the scientific community has not clearly established what constitutes a cure. So let’s try to get through this.
The patient was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 and began HIV treatment soon after. About 10 years later, in 2013, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, stage IVb, an advanced stage of cancer that is sometimes seen in patients with HIV infection. Hodgkin’s Disease (Hodgkin’s Lymphoma) is oftentimes a curable cancer, but in this case, the disease is diagnosed at an advanced stage. Treatment of this cancer requires multiple strategies, any of which could affect HIV disease.
First of all, treatment of this cancer required a stem cell transplant (allogeneic stem transplant). Stem cells are the source of our infection-fighting cells in the body. Blood cells are collected from a matched donor and the stem cells are separated. Then, radiation or chemotherapy is used to kill the cancerous blood cells in the patient and increase chances the donated cells will be accepted.
The patient then receives the donated cells. It is most important to understand that the person who donated the cells to this patient had a genetic modification of a protein that HIV uses to