It started with Timothy Brown AKA The Berlin Patient AKA The first Person to be cured of HIV. He found out he was HIV positive in 1995. His life was saved by the medication that made living with HIV a reality. In 2006 he received a new threat to his life, leukemia. he under went chemo therapy just the same as many cancer patients but the leukemia came back. the next step was a bone marrow transplant.
Many years ago there was a documentary on people who were resistant to HIV. It was late one night and I couldn’t sleep so I flipped through the channels and stopped on one with a graphic showing how HIV entered a cd4 cell. I remember them following a man who described how he began to lose all his friends due to complications of AIDS and he noticed that many of them were former lovers of his. He heard that the virus was contracted sexually and when his current lover began to show signs of sickness. they both went to get tested. His lover was infected but he was not. He described to the doctor that several of his former lover had already died and his current lover is ill so clearly the test was wrong and he had to have this virus as well. but test after test came back negative for HIV. He began to ask how is it that other were contracting HIV from practicing the same behaviors as and he wasn’t further test showed that his cd4 cells did not have the receptors that HIV needed to latch on to in order to take over and infect it. This meant that even if the virus did enter his body it was unable to replicate so it would simply die causing his to be resistant to HIV.
Now back to Timothy Brown.
His doctor, Gero Hütter, didn’t know very much about HIV but he was aware of the fact that a genetic mutation, called delta 32, disables the CCR5 receptors on the surface of the CD4 cells. If a person had two parents with delta 32 they were completely immune to HIV. T. Brown was in need of a bone marrow transplant, and the CD4 cell is produce in the bone marrow. Dr. Hütter was on to something that no other doctor had ever tried before. An HIV resistant bone marrow donor would cure T. Brown of leukemia and produce HIV resistant CD4 cells curing him of HIV as well. Long story short IT WORKED!!!!!!! Dr. Hütter found 232 donors worldwide who were matches for Brown. They worked through the list testing each of donors for the mutation. Donor 61 was just what the doctor ordered!
While the rest of the world was focused on improving treatment and creating a vaccine AIDS researchers and clinicians had accepted the beliefs that a cure was impossible.
Cure stories are starting to pop up all over. First Timothy Brown then the baby in Mississippi is treated and cured, now a 12 year old boy has received a cord blood transplant in hopes to cure his leukemia and HIV. My fingers are crossed! Maybe soon I will be telling the story of how I get cured.