Suffering from HIV and cancer, an American survived in extremis thanks to a stem cell transplant

In the United States, a medical feat has just been achieved. After transplanting stem cells into a patient with cancer and HIV, the American institute City of Hope claimed to have cured a 66-year-old patient. A crucial step that should revolutionize health protocols in this case.

Like anything is possible! The American institute City of Hope lives up to its name, and it is not this patient with cancer and HIV for more than 33 years who will tell us otherwise. A wind of hope is blowing in the fight against AIDS, launched several decades ago. After seeing a stem cell transplant three and a half years ago, 66-year-old man could touch healing with his fingertips. That’s what this California-based cancer medical institute said after announcing their patient’s remission. A medical feat that announces better days for the sick.

Suffering from HIV for 33 years and leukemia… the prodigious recovery of an elderly patient

This is called double jeopardy. Diagnosed HIV-positive in 1988, this anonymous patient has accumulated health problems. For three and a half he is battling leukemia which could have been fatal. “Like many others, I then thought it was a death sentence“ confesses this 66-year-old survivor in a press release published by the institute.

To achieve such a result, this American had to go through a battery of tests and had to undergo a very heavy experimental protocol. “He received a blood stem cell transplant […] from a donor who had a rare genetic mutation” called CCR5. CCR5 is a receptor on immune cells […], and HIV uses this receptor to penetrate and attack the immune system. But the CCR5 mutation blocks this pathway, which prevents HIV from replicating.” explained researchers from the City of Hope Institute. It would seem that this drastic treatment has finally paid off as the patient the patient of City of Hope “showed no evidence of virus replication“, which even earned him the cessation of his antiviral treatment against HIV, which he had been following for more than 30 years. A result which is welcomed by Dr Dickter, professor in the division of infectious diseases.

A rare but not unprecedented case

The City of Hope patient is not the first lucky one to recover from HIV, although his advanced age gives him the top spot among elderly patients. IThis is the fourth patient in the history to experience this happy ending. If this news gives hope to AIDS patients, the treatment from which the miraculously benefited remains for the moment difficult to implement on a large scale.

We will have to be patient and wait a few more decades before setting up a truly effective treatment capable of curing HIV. “If the right donor can be identified, this could open the possibility for more older patients living with HIV and blood cancers to receive a stem cell transplant and go into remission for both diseases“, explains Dr Dickter who remains positive for the future. A crucial step in favor of medical progress which echoes this new treatment likely to fight against cancer!

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