Brown died Tuesday in Palm Springs, California, according to a social media post by his partner Tim Hoffen.
The cause was a return to cancer that originally prompted an abnormal bone marrow and stem cell transplant Brown received in 2007 and 2008, which for years seemed to have eliminated both his leukemia and HIV, the virus that caused AIDS. Causes
“Timothy indicated that it was possible, under special circumstances,” said Gero Hetter, a Berlin physician who led Brown’s landmark treatment – to free a patient of HIV – that many scientists could be suspected.
“It’s a very sad situation” that the cancer returned and took his life, as he still seemed free of HIV, said Hayter, who is now the medical director of a stem cell company in Dresden.
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.
Brown was working as a translator in Berlin when he was diagnosed with HIV and then later leukemia.
Transplants are considered an effective treatment for blood cancer, but Hetter wanted to try to cure HIV infection as well as 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 the hope of 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.”