Hopes of HIV cure in ‘Boston patients’ dashed

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Two patients who researchers hoped had been cured of HIV have seen their infections return, dashing hopes that the virus had been eradicated from their bodies.

The patients had received a treatment regimen similar to that given to Timothy Ray Brown, known as the ‘Berlin patient’, who doctors said in 2009 had been cured of the virus by a bone-marrow transplant with cells that were resistant to HIV infection.

Unlike Brown, however, the two ‘Boston patients’ — nicknamed for the Massachusetts city where they were treated — received bone-marrow transplants with cells that were not resistant to HIV. Still, both of them seemed to be free of the virus for months after stopping treatment with antiretroviral medications. But at a meeting on HIV persistence this week in Miami, Florida, researchers reported that the virus has rebounded in both of the Boston patients.

“It’s disappointing and very sobering,” says virologist Deborah Persaud of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore, Maryland, who reported in March that her team seemed to have cured an infant of HIV through treatment with antiretroviral medication.

Written By: Erika Check Hayden
continue to source article at nature.com

6 COMMENTS

  1. The only good in this is it shows science working.

    They thought they understood. They hypothesised what would happen. They did an experiment. The experiment showed the hypothesis was false. They now know more. We await the next hypothesis …

  2. It seems to me that this is just a step on the path to finding a more effective treatment, even if a cure is out of reach. The fact is that the patients were without detectable levels of infection for a long time, so to say hopes are “dashed” is perhaps a little strong. Perhaps this kind of treatment will still form a part of future approaches to tackling the disease.

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