Timothy Ray Brown, who made history as a “Berlin patient”, the first person known to treat HIV infection, has died. He was 54 years old.
Brown died Tuesday in Palm Springs, California, according to a social media post by his partner Tim Hoffen. The cause was cancer, which Brown originally received in 2007 and 2008 for abnormal bone marrow and stem cell transplants, which for years seemed to have eradicated both his leukemia and HIV, the virus causing AIDS. .
The Berlin physician who led Brown’s historical treatment, Dr. “Timothy indicated that it was possible under special circumstances,” said Gero Hettter, “to expel a patient of HIV – something that many scientists could have suspected.”
“It’s a very sad situation” that the cancer returned and took his life, as he still seemed free of HIV, said Hueter, who is now the medical director of a stem cell company in Dresden, Germany.
The International AIDS Society, which spoke to Brown at the AIDS conference following his successful treatment, issued a statement condolences on his death, saying that he and Hutert had “much gratitude for promoting research on a cure” “Is outstanding.
AIDS epidemic, 1980s
Members of the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee (CSLDC) carried a banner through a street in New York City, USA in June 1983. (Photo by Barbara Alper / Getty Image)
CANADA – JANUARY 01: Guards fear AIDS: Prison guards argue that they need better protection from prisoners with AIDS or related diseases. (Photo by Boris Spremo / Toronto Star via Getty Image)
United States – August 1 ST: Secretary of Health and Human Services Margaret Heckler joins hands with Mayor Coach Boots on the bed of AIDS victim Peter Justice. (Photo by Harry Hamburg / NY Daily News Archive via Getty Image).
Canada – June 09: Investigation of fatal disease: dr. Jay Keystone; AIDS, a member of a team trying to get money to study the disease; It is claiming relatively few victims, but appears to be spreading. (Photo by Bob Olsen / Toronto Star via Getty Image)
An AIDS safety pack from Rajneesh Medical Corporation containing latex gloves, a condom and HR lubricating jelly, Oregon, USA, circa 1984. The image was taken in the hotel room of the cult leader Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh alias Osho. (Photo by Kipros / Getty Images)
PARIS – APRIL 4: (left to right) Luke Montagnier, Jean-Claude Charman and François Barre-Sinoussi, three French scientists who helped discover the causes of AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. On April 4, 1984, the day after the announcement by the US Minister of Health. The new virus discovered by these scientists is called LAV (Lumphadenopathy-associated virus). François Barre-Sinoussi and Luke Montagnier shared the Nobel Medicine Prize for the discovery of the HIV virus on October 6, 2008, along with a German scientist for their research into cervical cancer. (Photo by Michelle Clement / AFP / Getty Image)
United Kingdom – JANUARY 12: 3′-azido-3′-deoxythymidine (AZT), manufactured by Welcome, was also known in the UK as zidovudine. AZT is a drug used to treat HIV, which is AIDS from the virus. (Photo by SSPL / Getty Image)
A patient with AIDS, St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, in 1985. (Photo by Michael Ward / Getty Image)
CANADA – DECEMBER 11: Members of Toronto’s AIDS committee meet at their headquarters (via photo Ron Bull / Toronto Star)
14-year-old AIDS victim Ryan White was banned from the Kokamo, Ind., High school due to illness and actress Mary Beth Hurt. (Photo by: Richard Corkery / NY Daily News via Getty Images)
Members of the People with AIDS (PWA) Movement carry a banner during the Gay Pride Parade in New York City, USA, June 1986. (Photo by Barbara Alper / Getty Image)
AIDS patient Paul Keenan is assisted by volunteer Lorna Kelly at St. Clair Hospital. (Photo by: NY NY News via Getty Image)
AIDS VICTIM Priscilla Diaz reunites with 7-year-old baby Jasmine and 5-year-old twins Saul and Christian in their Bronx home. A fourth child, Milton, 15, is about to go home soon. Weak and in pain, Diaz, 36, had to send four of his children to Miami and Puerto Rico to live with relatives last December. Loneliness makes her suffering worse. But a caretaker of the Bronx Municipal Hospital Center, Drs. Carol Harris and nurse Marge Fenn helped arrange a tear-filled reunion yesterday. Hospital officials said Diaz contracted AIDS from her husband, a drug abuser, who died of the disease last April. (Photo by: Jim Hughes / NY Daily News via Getty Images)
A Buddhist monk Lop Buri’s Wat Phra Bat named Phu Budhu gives an AIDS patient at the temple, caring for those who die with the disease, Thailand, circa 1987. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Image)
The Buddhist monk Lop Buri attends the funeral ceremony of a deceased AIDS patient at Wat Phra Bat Nam Phu Budhu Temple, which provides care for those dying with the disease, Thailand, circa 1987. (Photo by Robert Robertsburg / Getty Image)
President Ronald Reagan visits the National Institutes of Health, where he places a 14-month-old child with AIDS, Bethesda, Maryland, 1987. (Photo by Pete Souza / PhotoQuest / Getty Image)
March 10, 1987 Washington Post photo by Frank Johnston: Story of Harlem Hospital, New York City: A young brother and sister, who cannot be identified, are among the many AIDS victims at Harlem Hospital in New York. His mother left him after birth, never to return.
March 18, 1987 Washington Frank Johnson LOCATION: The Washington Post photo by The Harlem Hospital, New York City Capitation: A child is depicted as a door knob in the AIDS pediatric ward.
With his breakfast each morning Michael May opens a bottle of a medicine called AL-721 and spreads it like a margarine ona piece. It is incredibly simple, the stuff is extracted from the egg yolk. A year ago, the 40-year-old chorus and orchestra leader was too weak to get a wheelchair, a fungus had spread to his arms and legs, he had pneumonia, and he knew he was dying of AIDS. Now he is an AIDS patient with a rare story (photo by: Gene Kappock / NY Daily News with Getty Images)
If You Dubbing in Drugs, 1989. American Public Health Poster for AIDS. (Photo by: Universal History Archive / UIG via Getty Image)
Canada – June 28: Poster Campaign: Posters at TTC shelters are part of a campaign to raise awareness about AIDS. Ontario believes that fear of the disease will pose a threat to marriage. (Photo by Boris Spremo / Toronto Star via Getty Image)
December 23, 1987 Washington Post by Fred Sweets Pic: 1336 Harvard St., NW. CAPTION: Alex Compagnet, president of Slud, a DC health organization, teaches a class on AIDS designed for Hispanics.
Members of Act Up = Unleash Power Hold signs and placards during the Alliance Alliance Gay and Lesbian Pride March, New York, New York, June 26, 1988. (Photo by Eugene Gordon / New York Historical History and Getty Images)
Canada – June 28: Ron Lentz: Nurse with AIDS works at Toronto Western Hospital tomorrow. (Photo by Ron Bull / Toronto Star via Getty Image)
WASHINGTON – OCTOBER 8: Spectrum swings to view the 8,288 individual handmade panels that make the AIDS quilt in Washington DC on November 8, 1988, its final stop in the year-long national tour. Each panel honors the disease victim. The quilt has increased five times while traveling to more than 20 cities. (Via Janet Knott / Boston Globe Getty Images)
CANADA – OCTOBER 18: Avoiding AIDS: Bleachman shows how drug users can sterilize needles. (Photo via Doug Griffin / Toronto Star Getty Image)
A Man Who Shoots Up Can Be Very Giving, 1989. American public health poster for AIDS. (Photo by: Universal History Archive / UIG via Getty Image)
DEC 11 1988; Operating room nurse; Kimberly Smith; Double bags (uses two plastic bags) are all supplied in a ‘blood and needle risk’ patient surgery. The patient was not an AIDS patient, but the patient was a known IV drug used by DGH. Rooms and appliances had to be cleaned with a disinfectant detergent with hi-tor ;; Blood and needle exposure require more cleaning time; (Photo by Lynn Elvis / Getty Post with Getty Images)
LaToya Jackson reaches a patient tomorrow in the pediatric ward of Bronx-Lebanon Hospital. She served breakfast to children at the expansive South Bronx Hospital and announced that she was planning a 1990 concert for benefit at the AIDS Hospice for Children in the Bronx-Lebanon. This was his final stop before finishing work on the new album in Europe. (Photo by: Jack Smith / NY Daily News via Getty Images)
None of these will give you AIDS, 1987. New York State Health Department of Health Public AIDS in AIDS. (Photo by: Universal History Archive / UIG via Getty Image)
Francisco Ortega, an AIDS drug smuggler from Santa Ana, is taking thousands of dollars of recycled AIDS medicine for AIDS patients from Orange County and Los Angeles to Tijuana, Mexico, who cannot consume drugs for a lifetime. The doctors and managers of the AIDS clinic take credit for ‘Daya Smugglers’, helping to improve health and brighten the lives of hundreds of poor patients who either do not have the most advanced medicine. Here, Ortega drops medicine at an AIDS outreach center in San Diego, which will later be transported across the border to the Bi theNational AIDS Advocacy Project and Casa Hogar Las Memorias in Tijuana. (Photo by Al Shaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Image)
Daily News Front Page April 9, 1992 Headline: ‘I Am Go Forward – SHHHK Doc Aids AIDS Ash (Photo by: / NY Daily News by Getty Images)
VALHALLA, NY – SEPTEMBER 19: The Westchester County Jail guard is wearing HIV / AIDS safety gear at the Westchester County Jail in Valhalla, New York on September 19, 1985. Jail and prison corrections officials are concerned about contracting AIDS. (Photo by Yvonne Hemsey / Getty Images)
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Brown was working as a translator in Berlin when he was diagnosed with HIV and then later leukemia. Transplants are known as an effective treatment for blood cancer, but Hetters wanted to try to cure HIV infection by using a donor with a rare gene mutation that gives natural resistance to the AIDS virus.
Brown’s first transplant in 2007 was only partially successful: he was diagnosed with HIV but did not have leukemia. He had his second transplant from the same donor in 2008 and started working.
But his cancer returned last year, Brown said in a recent interview with the Associated Press.
“I’m still glad I had it,” he said of his transplant.
Brown said “it is opening doors that were not there before” and inspired scientists to work harder to find a cure.
A second man, Adam Castillejo – called a “London patient” until he revealed his identity earlier this year – is also believed to have been cured by an implant similar to Brown’s in 2016.
Because such donors are rare and transplantation is clinically risky, researchers have tested gene therapy and other methods to achieve a similar effect. At an AIDS conference in July, the researchers said they may have achieved prolonged remission in a Brazilian person using a powerful combination of drugs to transmit dormant HIV from their body.
Brown, a Baltimore man who wrote a blog, said, “Brown was just this magnet for people with HIV like me,” and embodied hope for a cure.
He said, “I have said from the beginning, I don’t want to be the only one. They have to keep working on it.”
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