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World’s First Man Cured of HIV

gay news, hiv cure, AIDS curehiv vaccine
Timothy Ray Brown: Cured of HIV

Timothy Ray Brown is being hailed by the global medical community as the first HIV-positive person to ever be successfully cured of the disease.

A potential HIV vaccine has been big news lately, with one research group ready to take their vaccine into human clinical trials, but this medical miracle in particular isn’t the result of a vaccine. Instead, a stem cell bone marrow transplant is being heralded for Brown beating HIV.

CBS San Francisco reports:

Brown’s amazing progress continues to be monitored by doctors at San Francisco General Hospital and at the University of California at San Francisco medical center.

“I’m cured of HIV. I had HIV but I don’t anymore,” he said, using words that many in the scientific community are cautiously clinging to.

Scientists said Brown received stem cells from a donor who was immune to HIV. In fact, about one percent of Caucasians are immune to HIV. Some researchers think the immunity gene goes back to the Great Plague: people who survived the plague passed their immunity down and their heirs have it today.

UCSF’s Dr. Jay Levy, who co-discovered the HIV virus and is one of the most respected AIDS researchers in the world, said this case opens the door to the field of “cure research,” which is now gaining more attention.

“If you’re able to take the white cells from someone and manipulate them so they’re no longer infected, or infectable, no longer infectable by HIV, and those white cells become the whole immune system of that individual, you’ve got essentially a functional cure,” he explained.

UCSF’s Dr. Paul Volberding, another pioneering AIDS expert who has studied the disease for all of its 30 years cautioned that while “the Berlin Patient is a fascinating story, it’s not one that can be generalized.”

Both doctors stressed that Brown’s radical procedure may not be applicable to many other people with HIV, because of the difficulty in doing stem cell transplants, and finding the right donor.

Scientists and the medical community at large have been reluctant to use the word “cure” to describe HIV treatment in the past, but are relenting in Brown’s case. Clinical trials to duplicate the stem cell cure that relieved Brown of HIV are set to begin next year.

The entire article over at CBS is extremely fascinating and well worth a bit of your time. I highly recommend giving it a read.

  • “Timothy Ray Brown” is a lucky guy!

  • Bryan David Landry

     Personally, I think they’re getting a little carried away. Even if there was “no fault in the testing procedure,” the most likely explanation is still that the first test was a false positive. No medical test, even perfectly carried out, is without false positives and false negatives. It is true that false positives are pretty rare with the combination of an initial ELISA for screening purposes followed by a Western blot or indirect immunofluorescence assay, but with millions being screened it is still inevitable that false positives will pop up now and then. Nonetheless, the man’s original blood sample is still around, it should be retested.

    Alternatively, possibly Mr. Stimpson is a carrier of the CCR5Δ32 mutation, which demolishes an HIV coreceptor on lymphoid cells and leading to a potent resistant to HIV infection in carriers (although it’s unlikely that such a mutation would cause anti-HIV antibody to fall to undetectable levels so fast after being positive). It is also possible, albeit much less likely, that Mr. Stimpson’s initial test was not a false positive and that he has some new form of resistance to HIV that can’t be explained by the known mutation that confers HIV resistance (CCR5Δ32). In that case, he would definitely be worth studying.

    Here’s a prediction, though: Look for the HIV denialists to try to make some hay over this story if it gets out widely into the blogosphere. Just watch. Never mind that, even in the unlikely event that the first test was not a false positive and that Mr. Stimpson does indeed have some sort of previously undescribed resistance to HIV infection, it would not invalidate the data showing that HIV infection causes AIDS.Personally, I think they’re getting a little carried away. Even if there was “no fault in the testing procedure,” the most likely explanation is still that the first test was a false positive. No medical test, even perfectly carried out, is without false positives and false negatives. It is true that false positives are pretty rare with the combination of an initial ELISA for screening purposes followed by a Western blot or indirect immunofluorescence assay, but with millions being screened it is still inevitable that false positives will pop up now and then. Nonetheless, the man’s original blood sample is still around, it should be retested.Alternatively, possibly Mr. Stimpson is a carrier of the CCR5Δ32 mutation, which demolishes an HIV coreceptor on lymphoid cells and leading to a potent resistant to HIV infection in carriers (although it’s unlikely that such a mutation would cause anti-HIV antibody to fall to undetectable levels so fast after being positive). It is also possible, albeit much less likely, that Mr. Stimpson’s initial test was not a false positive and that he has some new form of resistance to HIV that can’t be explained by the known mutation that confers HIV resistance (CCR5Δ32). In that case, he would definitely be worth studying.Here’s a prediction, though: Look for the HIV denialists to try to make some hay over this story if it gets out widely into the blogosphere. Just watch. Never mind that, even in the unlikely event that the first test was not a false positive and that Mr. Stimpson does indeed have some sort of previously undescribed resistance to HIV infection, it would not invalidate the data showing that HIV infection causes AIDS.

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  •  amazing accomplishment! 

  •  doctors did stress that “Brown’s radical procedure may not be
    applicable to many other people with HIV, because of the difficulty in
    doing stem cell transplants, and finding the right donor’. The procedure has many drawbacks and in itself most difficult to endure. But it leads professional in the field  in the right direction. There is hope

  • OMG… WOOT! Go Science! It may not help everyone but it’s a TOTAL step in the right direction. I’m so happy about this right now.. and hopefully we will get to throw a cure in the faces of all those religious righters who claim that HIV and AIDS is punishment from god for being gay. It’s things like this that help my faith in humanity.. as usually I’m losing faith in humanity one (brian david landry, bradlee dean) person at a time.

  •  not disagreeing with MUCH of what you say, but do u really think this person went from one positive result straight to stem cell transplant? i don’t think so. and i also don’t believe the news of his apparent remission (i don’t like the word “cure,” yet… seems too set in stone) would have been made public if it were only the matter of one positive test result, followed by one negative test result. 

  • they need to find that cure and send it down here and charge people at lease 50 dolars for the cure or matter of fat no FOR FREE and hurry and get rid of the disease so we can live a normal life without us worring about dieing early.