The first man to recover from HIV infection now has terminal cancer

Timothy Ray Brown, the first person known to recover from an HIV infection, says he is now temporarily ill from a recurrence of the cancer he asked for his historic treatment 12 years ago.

Brown, known as the “Berlin Patient,” because he was transplanted from a donor with a rare, natural resistance to the AIDS virus, where he lived at the time. For years, his leukemia and his HIV infection were believed to have healed, and he still shows no signs of HIV.

But in an interview with the Associated Press, Brown said his cancer returned last year and has spread widely. He is receiving care at the inn where he now lives in Palm Springs, California.

“I’m still glad I had it,” Brown said of his transplant.

“It opened doors that weren’t there before,” the 54-year-old said Thursday. And the scientists were inspired to work hard to find a solution that many people began to think was not possible, said the 54-year-old.

Opposite Francisco University of California AIDS specialist Dr. “Timothy proved that HIV can be cured, but that’s not what inspires me,” said Steven Dix.

“We took pieces of his intestines, we took pieces of his lymph nodes. Every time he was asked to do something, he showed amazing kindness, “Dix said.

Brown was an American translator in Berlin in the 1990s when he learned that he had contracted HIV. In 2006, he was diagnosed with leukemia.

Blood cancer specialist at the University of Berlin, Dr. Giro Hutter believed that a marrow transplant was Brown’s best chance of killing leukemia. He wondered if he could also treat Brown’s other life-threatening illness using a donor with a gene mutation that provided a natural resistance to the AIDS virus.

Donors like this are very rare and transplants are risky. Doctors have to destroy the patient’s diseased immune system by chemotherapy and radiation, then transplant donor cells and hopefully they will develop into a new immune system for the recipient.

Brown’s first transplant in 2007 was only partially successful: he appeared to be infected with HIV but did not have leukemia. He had another transplant from the same donor in March 2008 and it seemed to work.

Since then, Brown has been repeatedly tested negative for HIV and has frequently attended AIDS conferences where treatment research is discussed.

“He’s been like an ambassador of hope,” Brown’s teammate, Tim Hoe Fagen, said.

Another man, Cas Dum Castilejo – a so-called “London patient” who did not reveal his identity earlier this year – is thought to have recovered from a 2016 Brown-like transplant.

But donors like this are rare and dangerous to use widely.

Scientists are experimenting with gene therapy without transplants and other ways to get the effect of a favorable gene mutation. At a conference on AIDS in July, researchers said they had acquired long-term abilities in a Brazilian man. Using a powerful combination of drugs to flush inactive HIV from her body.

March King, a Baltimore man who was infected with HIV Writing a blog for people with V, he said he spoke with Brown earlier this week and is grateful for the contributions Brown has made to AIDS research.

“How much value it has for the world as a subject of science is intact. King said, and yet this is also a human being who is a kind, humble man who never asked for a spotlight. “I think his world.”


The Associated Press The Department of Health and Science is supported by the Department of Science Education at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is fully responsible for all content.