Dr. Timothy Henrich of the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston had exciting news to share at the International Aids Society Conference in Malaysia on Wednesday.
Two HIV-positive patients from Boston who underwent bone marrow transplants for cancer and stopped antiretroviral therapy, show no detectable sign of the HIV virus.
Henrich said of the news:
I don't want to use the 'cure' word. If they remain virus-free in a year, or even two years, after [stopping] therapy, then we can make a statement that the chances of the virus returning are very low.
The case is similar to Timothy Ray Brown's recovery from HIV in 2009 after he underwent a bone marrow transplant for leukemia. He became the only patient believed to be cured of HIV.
CEO of amfAR Kevin Robert stated:
These findings clearly provide important new information that might well alter the current thinking about HIV and gene therapy. While stem-cell transplantation is not a viable option for people with HIV on a broad scale because of its costs and complexity, these new cases could lead us to new approaches to treating, and ultimately even eradicating, HIV.