An HIV-positive bone marrow transplant recipient at the Mayo Clinic experienced prolonged viral remission lasting nearly 10 months – longer than the so-called Boston patients – after interrupting antiretroviral therapy (ART), according to a report at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2017) last month in Seattle. Although his viral load eventually rebounded, his HIV reservoirs appeared to be reduced.
The only person known to be cured of HIV – Timothy Ray Brown, known as the 'Berlin Patient' – stopped ART when he received a bone marrow transplant to treat leukaemia and has not had detectable virus for ten years. Brown received a transplant from a donor with a double CCR5-delta-32 mutation, meaning they lack the CCR5 co-receptors most types of HIV use to enter T-cells. It is unclear whether his sustained remission is attributable to the donor's CCR5 mutation, the strong chemotherapy conditioning regimen used to kill off cancerous blood cells, a graft-versus-host reaction or multiple factors.
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