News24

Doctor convinced of first HIV cure

2012-09-13 08:27

St Louis - More than five years after a radical treatment, a San Francisco man and his German doctor are convinced that he remains the first person cured of infection with HIV, the virus that causes Aids.

Timothy Ray Brown, who is known as "The Berlin Patient" because of where he was treated, and Dr Gero Hutter made their first joint appearance in the US on Wednesday when Hutter spoke at a symposium on gene therapy at Washington University in St Louis. Scientists are studying whether gene therapy can be used to rid the body of HIV.

Brown, 46, was diagnosed with HIV in 1995. In 2006, he also developed leukaemia while living in Germany. Hutter performed a blood stem cell transplant using a donor with a rare gene mutation that provides natural resistance to HIV. Hutter said that resistance transferred to Brown.

In an interview, Brown said he feels great, has not needed HIV medication since the 2007 surgery, and is now active in a foundation named for him that seeks a cure for HIV.

Hutter said enough time has passed to say without hesitation that Brown is cured, citing the same five-year standard after which some cancer patients are said to be cured.

Natural resistance


Brown, who now lives in San Francisco, grew up in Seattle and moved to Germany in 1993. After the HIV diagnosis he started on medication to prevent him from developing full-blown Aids.

He was attending a wedding in New York in 2006 when he became unusually tired. An avid cyclist, within weeks he could barely ride the bike and eventually was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Brown underwent chemotherapy but needed a blood stem cell transplant and turned to Hutter, a blood specialist at Heidelberg University.

Hutter suggested they seek a donor with a certain cell feature that gives them natural resistance to HIV infection. Only about 1% of the northern European population has this feature. Hutter theorised that a transplant from such a donor could make the recipient resistant to HIV.

Hutter said no one apparently had tried this, and his idea received mixed reaction from other doctors. "Some were very excited, but many were sceptical," he said.

But within weeks, Hutter said, tests showed promise that Brown was cured. His case was described in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2009.

"I don't know if I really believed it was cured" until the journal publication, Brown said.

Gene therapy


Earlier this year, doctors in California found traces of HIV in Brown's tissue, leading to speculation that the disease had returned. But Hutter said the traces are remnants of the disease that can't replicate or cause a recurrence of the disease.

The symposium in St Louis was hosted by the university's Biologic Therapeutics Centre, which seeks to advance the use of gene therapy. Speakers said gene therapy has helped treat cancer, haemophilia and other diseases.

So far, Brown is the only person believed to have been cured of HIV. Hutter began procedures in 2008 with 12 other people who had both HIV and cancer, but some were too sick to undergo treatment, and others couldn't find matching donors or ran into other roadblocks.

Comments
  • tebza.ngoatoana - 2012-09-13 08:58

    Im pretty sure the treatment would cost a fortune.

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-09-13 09:38

      Now ja, but in 20 years, maybe not so much.

  • arthur.hugh - 2012-09-13 09:00

    Jeez okay that's quite incredible.

  • chanki.modise - 2012-09-13 09:08

    If true wow

  • nghamula.mdunwazi - 2012-09-13 09:09

    HIV positive!don't loose hope

  • gary.wilby.18 - 2012-09-13 09:13

    Wow this is absolutely AMAZING, how would one pursue this as a treatment option, as I have a family memeber who is HIV +

      shannon.mcmurtrie.3 - 2012-09-13 09:33

      Well Gary, first you would have to find a donor without the CCR5 Gene. No register exists at present. So......good luck.

  • shannon.mcmurtrie.3 - 2012-09-13 09:15

    Dr. Huetter (TIMOTHY BROWN's Oncologist) had a revolutionary treatment idea. He was aware of the discussions going on in HIV research about something called a CCR5 receptor mutation. The CCR5 receptor allows the HIV virus to attach to the T-cell and subsequently infect the cell, spreading the disease. People WITHOUT CCR5 appeared resistant to HIV infections. But they are rare: Only one percent of the northern European population is this lucky. Its a gene possessed by white people only.

      schalk.burger.988 - 2012-09-13 09:20

      F unny. Comment.

      shannon.mcmurtrie.3 - 2012-09-13 09:28

      What is funny? The fact only white people possess this gene?

      lskosana3 - 2012-09-13 09:53

      We learnt about this just yesterday in our biochem lecture, very interesting indeed!

      leon.puth - 2012-09-13 11:00

      can donors donate across race line, or are you saying even of this is a cure, it cant be used in africa?

      daniel.spengler.923 - 2012-09-13 18:39

      The gene is not possessed by white people only. It was first discovered among people of European descent, but is found at frequencies of 2 - 5 % among people of European, Indian and Middle Eastern descent. Only about 1% (an estimate) of the listed populations are homozygous for the gene, and thus are resistant, but not immune, to infection. The rest of the population which have a heterozygous genotype appear to develop aids more slowly, so some protection is provided. http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v16/n1/abs/ng0597-100.html Isolated occurrences have been discovered among different population groups.

      dlamini.hamilton.7 - 2012-09-15 14:19

      Hw can a specific racial group of whites only be without the CCR5? I still say the Research is biased and a political propaganda against the other majority of the racial groups, who happen 2 b more infected with this virus. How will such developments help Africa? Are we in isolation here? I am not convinced a holistic approach was done. I just hope this is not one of the many false hopes created to ppl who are desperate 4 a cure here.

  • shimi.mpete - 2012-09-13 09:16

    Dats a lie

      rob4e - 2012-09-13 10:19

      >no facts or evidence to support claim >"im right because i'm right" >logic fail

  • shannon.mcmurtrie.3 - 2012-09-13 09:16

    And News24, the Doctors name is Huetter. NOT Hutter.

      carel.steenekamp - 2012-09-13 09:34

      Easy mistake to make. Huetter / Hütter (with Umlaut) is the same spelling, but with the diacritics represented differently.

  • nathi.mlotshwa.71 - 2012-09-13 09:18

    Now they should try this breakthrough here in SA

  • mnibo.klaas - 2012-09-13 09:28

    Bring it on Dr Hutter!

  • jeanpierre.potgieter.18 - 2012-09-13 09:38

    Only a matter of time untill the complete successfull cure is here!

  • zandisile.fila - 2012-09-13 09:54

    Well it sounds like a great break-through. Hopefully the treatment would be made affordable for poor Africans to also benefit.

      jimmy.dalton.391 - 2012-09-13 11:02

      I am so sick and tired of hearing about poor Africans. Africa is a rich continent. The people of Africa should vote for beter governments and not a..holes that only look after themselves.

  • siphokule.jack - 2012-09-13 10:00

    There is a cure for aids

      daniel.spengler.923 - 2012-09-13 19:00

      No. The Berlin patient has been rid of HIV infection, however to call the procedure a cure would be a mistake, since it is not yet known how effective the procedure is. We do know of at least 1 patient who has managed to get rid of an HIV infection, it is not yet known if the treatment would be effective enough to be called a cure, as far as we know the Berlin patient might be 1 in a million. All having been said though the Berlin patient represents a significant breakthrough in the search for a cure for AIDS. As an analogy lets say someone with athletes foot is caught in the snow, and while stumbling into their house to seek shelter they knock over a lantern and set themselves on fire, they run back outside and roll around in the snow, losing their skin to fire and feet to frostbite. When admitted to hospital a foot transplant and skin graft is performed and after a lengthy recovery period the patient no longer has athletes foot. The patient has most assuredly been rid of athletes foot and may remain free of infection for the rest of their natural lives. However the procedure cannot be called or used as a cure for athletes foot.

      lotus.river.5 - 2012-09-18 21:48

      No,you must understand that for this to have worked,this guys bone marrow had to wiped clean ablated of the leukamia cells, then a newbone marrow tranplanted. There are many risks for this procedure. We need a better and safer method for curing the disease,

  • Pete7930 - 2012-09-13 11:25

    Granted, there will be suffering to those who are not deserving. For that I am sorry. The reality is that Aids is a disease that our country deserves!

      diran.pillay - 2012-09-13 22:20

      Powerful comment by a very angry person.Go get help

      esrom.sandy - 2012-10-22 08:57

      By ur comment I know even de colour of ur skin Basson

  • Pete7930 - 2012-09-13 11:32

    @leon.puth Glad to hear you are willing to live side by side with the murderers of my family and friends. Best of luck to you. I guess my opinion is biased! My humble apologies.

  • nathi.mlotshwa.71 - 2012-09-13 16:02

    Now they should try this breakthrough here in SA

  • bernardandrew.ndlovu - 2012-09-13 16:55

    wonderful

      fusi.sefatsana - 2012-10-22 08:14

      it is great to realise that at last the crase of god is still with us. We need to help this wonderful doctor.

  • jeremyjja - 2012-09-17 15:02

    and now u know!

  • morongwajoy - 2012-09-28 00:28

    wow thats the grace of god

  • martie.lottering - 2012-10-22 08:53

    The only cure for Aids is to stop sleeping around!!!

  • mlamli.jikeka - 2012-12-03 12:16

    if this true it will be break trhough to all Human!

  • Roland Scott - 2013-08-01 05:03

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  • Aso Oiriroko - 2013-09-10 04:18

    i want to thank dr oririoko for the herbal hiv medicine he gave to me and my daughter, i was suffering from hiv when i gave birth to my daughter and that was how my daughter got the sickness indirect from me, but to God be the glory that i am healed with the herbal medicine that DR Oko gave to me when i contacted him. i want to use this medium to tell everyone that the solution to our sickness has come, so i will like you to contact this great healer on his email address: droririokohelphome@gmail.com with him all your pains will be gone, i am really happy today that i and my daughter are cured of hiv, we are now negative after the use of his medicine,my doctor confirm it. and i was not change for the treament he gave me. you can contect me on my email mrsjaneworld@gmail.com for more information about him. once more i say a big thank to you Dr oririoko for your healing hands upon my life and my daughter, i say may God continue to bless you abundantly and give you more power to keep helping those that want your help in their lives. email him now he is waiting to receive you. once again his email droririokohelphome@gmail.com

  • Aso Oiriroko - 2013-09-10 04:18

    i want to thank dr oririoko for the herbal hiv medicine he gave to me and my daughter, i was suffering from hiv when i gave birth to my daughter and that was how my daughter got the sickness indirect from me, but to God be the glory that i am healed with the herbal medicine that DR Oko gave to me when i contacted him. i want to use this medium to tell everyone that the solution to our sickness has come, so i will like you to contact this great healer on his email address: droririokohelphome@gmail.com with him all your pains will be gone, i am really happy today that i and my daughter are cured of hiv, we are now negative after the use of his medicine,my doctor confirm it. and i was not change for the treament he gave me. you can contect me on my email mrsjaneworld@gmail.com for more information about him. once more i say a big thank to you Dr oririoko for your healing hands upon my life and my daughter, i say may God continue to bless you abundantly and give you more power to keep helping those that want your help in their lives. email him now he is waiting to receive you. once again his email droririokohelphome@gmail.com

  • Roland Scott - 2013-11-04 18:34

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  • Kingdonald Donald - 2013-11-07 06:33

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  • Parker Morison - 2013-11-16 08:22

    i am by name called, Maxwell,I will says to the world to celebrate this great testimony with me, i never believe i can eve get rid of these horrible disease one day. My story and thanksgiving goes to Dr Abacha the powerful man who help me to CURE MY HIV/AIDS disease from my life. I don't know how to say this to everyone, Dr Abacha is a truthful man with high herbs power's he uses to save people's life. Last few days i came in contact with Dr Abacha emails on the internet which people gave much testimonies about his kind fullness work. So i decided to contact him quickly because this disease was almost on the last step of taking my life from me. I have tried all my best in life to get heal but nobody could ever help apart from Dr Abacha who finally help me to cure my HIV disease from me. I always amazed and overwhelmed when the doctor confirm that i am now healed from aids, and now, i am an HIV/AIDS NEGATIVE PATIENT. I wish anyone who is sick today and wants a healing please i will kindly advice you to contact this man called Dr Abacha now at: abacha.solutiontemple@gmail.com To get this powerful healer full article and trust on his origination and references please visit him now again at: abacha.solutiontemple@gmail.com

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