Six months after his case attracted worldwide attention, "Berlin Patient" Timothy Ray Brown appears to still be the first person ever to have been cured of HIV. The virus was eliminated from Brown's body after he received a bone marrow stem cell transplant while being treated for leukemia. "I’m cured of HIV. I had HIV but I don’t anymore," Brown tells CBS5 in San Francisco, where amazed experts are monitoring his progress. Doctors believe Brown received stem cells from a donor who was among the 1% or so of the Caucasian population that is immune to HIV.
Stem cell researchers are now trying to replicate the same results. Experts say that while the radical treatment that appears to have cured Brown carries many risks, talk of a cure for AIDS no longer seems premature. "If you’re able to take the white cells from someone and manipulate them so they’re no longer infected, no longer infectable by HIV, and those white cells become the whole immune system of that individual, you’ve got essentially a functional cure," explains researcher Jay Levy, who co-discovered the HIV virus. (Read more AIDS stories.)