‘Dusseldorf patient’ is 5th person cured of HIV
A man referred to only as “the Dusseldorf patient” has become the fifth person confirmed to be cured of HIV.
Researchers said the 53-year-old German underwent successful treatment and has been off his HIV medication for four years without relapsing.
“It’s really cured, and not just, you know, long-term remission,” Dr. Bjorn-Erik Ole Jensen of Dusseldorf University Hospital told to ABC News about the new case, which was published in the journal Nature Medicine. “This obviously positive symbol makes hope, but there’s a lot of work to do.”
The patient received a stem cell cancer treatment, also referred to as a bone marrow transplant, for leukemia he developed alongside his HIV infection. The high-risk procedure — which he underwent in 2013 — essentially replaces a person’s immune system and ended up curing both diseases.
“I think we can get a lot of insights from this patient and from these similar cases of HIV cure,” Jensen said. “These insights give us some hints where we could go to make the strategy safer.”
“Further research is now needed into how this can be made possible outside the narrow set of framework conditions we have described.”
There are nearly 40 million people with HIV around the world. But about 1% of the world’s population has a genetic mutation that makes them resistant to HIV. All of the previous cases where HIV was cured involved stem cell treatments from donors who had that genetic mutation.
The researchers noted, however, that the same treatment has previously been unsuccessful in other patients. Bone marrow transplants involve drugs that suppress the immune system and can increase the risk of infections, including graft-versus-host disease, where the transplanted cells attack the patient’s immune system, according to DW.
“Today, I am all the more proud of my worldwide team of doctors who succeeded in curing me of HIV — and at the same time, of course, of leukemia,” the Dusseldorf patient said, according to Sky News.
“On Valentine’s Day this year, I celebrated the 10th anniversary of my bone marrow transplant in a big way. My bone marrow donor was present as a guest of honor.”
Timothy Ray Brown — who was previously described as “the Berlin patient” — was the first person reported to be cured of HIV in 2009. Researchers later published about “the London patient” in 2019. Patients in City of Hope and New York were written about in 2022.