Leukemia Treatment Cures Patient's HIV

Stem cell transplant has unintended, astounding side effect
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2010 2:29 PM CST
German hematologists Eckhard Thiel, left, and Gero Huetter attend a news conference about treatment of an HIV-infected patient in Berlin in 2008. A newly published followup declares him cured of HIV.   (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

(Newser) – In another potentially big break in the treatment of AIDS, scientists believe that an HIV-positive man has been cured by a stem cell transplant, the Huffington Post reports. Timothy Ray Brown, often referred to as the "Berlin Patient," underwent both stem-cell therapy alongside conventional chemotherapy for leukemia—not his HIV infection. But three years later, researchers say that test results "strongly suggest that cure of HIV infection has been achieved."

The stem cell donor just happened to have a natural resistance to HIV infection, explains AIDSmap.com. "If a cure has been achieved in this patient, it points the way towards attempts to develop a cure for HIV infection through genetically engineered stem cells," writes Keith Alcorn.

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