Monday, June 6, 2011

The Berlin Patient

After looking at the picture in Life Magazine of the man dying from AIDS, I came across this article. It is the interesting story of the only known person ever cured of the disease. Timothy Ray Brown, known in the scientific community as the Berlin Patient, had both Leukemia and AIDS. Ironically, it was his Leukemia that ended up saving his life. Well, sort of. To treat his Leukemia, Brown was given a bone marrow stem cell transplant in Berlin in 2007...

Timothy Ray Brown suffered from both leukemia and HIV when he received a bone marrow stem cell transplant in Berlin, Germany in 2007. The transplant came from a man who was immune to HIV, which scientists say about 1 percent of Caucasians are. (According to San Francisco's CBS affiliate, the trait may be passed down from ancestors who became immune to the plague centuries ago.

What happened next has stunned the dozens of scientists who are closely monitoring Brown: His HIV went away.

"He has no replicating virus and he isn't taking any medication. And he will now probably never have any problems with HIV," his doctor Gero Huetter told Reuters. Brown now lives in the Bay Area, and suffers from some mild neurological difficulties after the operation. "It makes me very happy," he says of the incredible cure.

It's pretty cool how science and luck sometimes come together. Hopefully, this same sort of luck will work for other people and other diseases in the future.

First man ‘functionally cured’ of HIV


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