Timothy Brown, the world’s first cured AIDS patient known as the “Berlin Patient,” has died of a recurrence of cancer, the International AIDS Society said in a statement on September 30. “We are very grateful to Timothy and his doctor, Gro Huttle, for opening the door for scientists to explore the concept that AIDS can be cured,” said Adiba Kamaluzzaman, president of the International AIDS Association. “
Brown has been struggling with relapsed leukaemia for months and is receiving hospice care at his home in Palm Springs, California, according to media reports.
Brown, an American born in 1966, is recognized as the world’s first treated AIDS patient. He was diagnosed with AIDS while living in Berlin, Germany, in 1995 and acute myeloid leukemia in 2006. Brown received radiation therapy and stem cell transplants in Berlin in 2007, after which AIDS and leukemia disappeared.
Brown stopped antiretroviral drugs for AIDS shortly after transplanting stem cells, and no detectable HIV was found in the body. In other words, he was cured. Brown’s experience shows that AIDS can one day be cured. This has contributed to a series of efforts to study AIDS treatment.
More than a decade after Brown was cured, Adam Castilejo, an AIDS patient known as the “London Patient”, was widely believed to be the second HIV patient to be cured after receiving a stem cell transplant and no active HIV was detected for a long time.
One common feature of treatment for two patients is that the CCR5 subject of a stem cell donor has a rare mutation that makes the body resistant to HIV, preventing it from entering the host cell. CCR5 is a major entry point for HIV to attack the human body. The researchers believe that replacing immune cells with cells without CCR5 receptors through stem cell transplantation may be the reason HIV does not rebound in patients after discontinuation of treatment.
Experts say that while Brown and Castilejo’s treatment is not a viable strategy for a large-scale cure, it represents a way to find a cure.