The first person to recover from HIV has passed away from cancer

The first person to recover from HIV, Timothy Ray Brown – known as a “Berlin patient” – has died of cancer. International AIDS Society (IAS) Announced Wednesday.

Brown created medical history and became a symbol of hope for millions of people living with the virus that causes AIDS when he was cured more than a decade ago.

He had been living with a recurrence of leukemia for several months and received hospice care at his home in Palm Springs, California.

“On behalf of all its members … IAS sends its condolences to Timothy’s partner, Tim, and his family and friends,” IAS President Adiba Kamerulzman said.

“We owe Timothy and his doctor, Gero Hutter, much gratitude for the scientists for opening the door to discovering the concept that it is possible to treat HIV.”

Brown was diagnosed with HIV when he was studying in Berlin in 1995. A decade later, he was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.

To treat his leukemia, his doctor at the University of Berlin used a stem cell transplant from a donor who had a rare genetic mutation that gave him a natural resistance to HIV, hoping it would eradicate both diseases. Can.

It performed two painful and dangerous procedures, but it was a success: Brown was declared free of two diseases in 2008, and was initially dubbed a “Berlin patient” at a medical conference to maintain his anonymity.

Two years later, he decided to break his silence and became a public figure, giving speeches and interviews and starting his own foundation.

“I am living proof that there can be a cure for AIDS,” he told AFP in 2012.

‘the champion’

Ten years after Brown recovered, a second HIV patient – dubbed the “London Patient” – was revealed to be in remission 19 months after undergoing a similar procedure.

The patient, Adam Castillejo, is currently HIV-free. In August, a California woman had no signs of HIV despite not using anti-retroviral treatment.

It is thought that she may be the first person to recover from HIV without risky bone marrow treatment.

Sharon Levin, IAS president-elect and director of the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, Australia, praised Brown as a “champion and advocate” for the treatment of HIV.

“It is the hope of the scientific community that one day we can honor his legacy with a safe, cost-effective and widely accessible strategy to treat HIV using techniques that promote editing and immune control “.

© Agnes France-Presse


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