The rates of HIV/AIDS continue to increase each year. And so, back in 2018, there have been nearly 37.9 million new cases of HIV/AIDS on a global level. However, at last, we have some good news to brighten the mood. As researchers have said – we might finally be looking at a promising cure for this deadly virus and the diseases that it causes.
Representing the cases of the so-called “Berlin” and “London” patients
Many of us remember Timothy Brown, also known as the “Berlin patient” for being the first person ever to fully recover and be freed from the presence of the dangerous human immunodeficient virus (HIV), which is responsible for causing the potentially-deadly disease AIDS.
The case of the so-called “Berlin patient” was first presented back in 2008 on the 2008 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. It was two years later, in 2010 when the identity of the “Berlin patient” was publicly acknowledged as Timothy Brown.
For the longest time ever, he, like many before him, has been successfully treated with the use of antiretroviral therapy. With its use, it is possible to control the symptoms of HIV/AIDS, although it is not possible to fully free the patient from the presence of the virus itself. Apart from HIV/AIDS, Timothy Brown had been diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia.
The treatment plan included both chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but also a bone marrow transplant to save his life. What perhaps nobody expected was Timothy Brown making full recovery and living a life free of any trace of HIV/AIDS thanks to the use of the bone marrow transplant.
Today, nearly eleven years later, at the same conference, the public was presented yet another HIV/AIDS case of the so-called “London patient”. He too, like Timothy Brown, has been treated with the use of bone marrow transplant. In was in March 2020, that the “London patient” has been publicly identified as Adam Castillejo. He had been living with HIV/AIDS since 2003 but it was in 2012 when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and in the need of stem cell transplant.
Adam Castillejo had received a bone marrow transplant as a part of his treatment plan for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Unlike Timothy Brown, Adam Castillejo had received chemotherapy only and his treatment plan had included weaker immunosuppressants. The bone marrow transplant seemed to help Adam Castillejo to recover from the HIV/AIDS symptoms that he had experienced in the past.
A year later, the second patient treated for HIV remains healthy and happy
The most recent good news came with a paper published in The Lancet HIV on March 10, 2020. As a part of this paper, researchers went on to report on the current health condition of the second ever-patient treated with bone marrow transplant who had experienced an improvement in his HIV/AIDS symptoms as a result.
The researchers were more than happy to report a continuous improvement in the case of Adam Castillejo. 30 months after stopping the treatment with the antiretroviral therapy and 46 months after having received the bone marrow transplant, Adam Castillejo’s case remains in remission.
It was with great joy to report that he has continued living a life free of any sign of HIV/AIDS all thanks to the bone marrow transplant that he has received not that long ago. The doctors and researchers who continued following his case were unable to find any trace of a detectable virus. This means that no virus, capable to replicate, was found in the blood, cerebrospinal fluid, gut, sperm, or lymph nodes.
They have shared their thoughts that what we might have been seeing here is a potential cure for the deadly virus. Although more research needs to be done, there is no denying that we are seeing at some promising information that provides hope for any future cases of HIV/AIDS.
Adam Castillejo, who only recently decided to publicly reveal himself as the famous “London patient”, has announced that he has been living a life free of cancer and HIV/AIDS after having received bone marrow transplant one year earlier. The doctors that have been following his condition have announced that no trace of the active virus could be identified in Adam Castillejo’s body and so, that could potentially mean that we finally have a cure for HIV/AIDS.