The news comes hours after the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) warned that the world is not meeting the goal that was set to stop the HIV pandemic
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The City of Hope Hospital, a clinical research center located in Duarte, California, announced that it achieved remission (decrease or disappearance of signs and symptoms) of HIV in a 66-year-old man who was diagnosed in 1988. The results were presented at the XXIV International AIDS Conference (AIDS) in 2022. This, however, is not a cure, which is still far from being achieved.
The patient lived with HIV for more than 31 years and already in his old age developed leukemia, a type of blood cancer. To treat the latter, the man received a stem cell transplant in early 2019 from a volunteer donor who had a rare genetic mutation, the homozygous CCR5 delta 32 mutation, which the hospital explained makes people resistant to most cancers. strains of HIV infection.
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Although the transplant was performed almost three years ago, doctors report that the patient has been in remission from the virus for more than 17 months. “Since he recovered from his transplant, the City of Hope patient has not shown any evidence of replication of the HIV virus in his body, either in blood or tissue samples. With institutional review board approval, he stopped taking HIV ART in March 2021 and was closely monitored for rebound virus,” the hospital noted.
“Because this patient was the oldest to receive a stem cell transplant [de los cuatro pacientes], have lived with HIV the longest before their transplant and received the least immunosuppressive therapy, we now have evidence that if the right stem cell donor is found for patients living with HIV who develop blood cancers, we can use newer, less intensive chemotherapy regimen options to try to achieve a dual remission. This can open up entirely new opportunities for older patients living with HIV and blood cancers,” added Jana K. Dickter, associate clinical professor at City of Hope.
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This patient is the fourth in the world to achieve HIV remission, although he is the oldest of all of them. The only thing that is known about the patient, who has decided to remain anonymous, is a statement quoted by the hospital: “When I was diagnosed with HIV in 1988, like many others, I thought it was a death sentence. I never thought I would live to see the day that I no longer have HIV.”
According to the British media BBC, Dr. Dickter acknowledged at the conference that the procedure that achieved this remission is complex and has significant potential side effects: “Therefore, it is not really a suitable option for most people who live with The hiv”. Dr. Sharon Lewin, president-elect of the International AIDS Society, added that while these cases provide “continued hope,” the cure remains the holy grail of HIV research.
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The news comes hours after the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) warned that the world is not meeting the goal that was set to stop the HIV pandemic. The number of new infections globally fell by just 3.6% between 2020 and 2021, the smallest annual decline in numbers of new HIV infections since 2016. In 2021 alone, the AIDS pandemic claimed, on average, one life every minute, leading to 650,000 AIDS deaths
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