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Man who received stem cell transplant is fourth known person to go into HIV remission

A 66-year-old man, now called the “City of Hope patient”, who received a stem cell transplant is the fourth known person to go into HIV remission.

Photo by Darran Shen from Unsplash.com

MONTREAL, CANADA – A 66-year-old man, now called the “City of Hope patient”, who received a stem cell transplant is the fourth known person to go into HIV remission.

Data on the new case was presented by Jana Dickter of City of Hope, where the person living with HIV received transplant nearly 3 1/2 years ago.

The man lived with HIV for over 31 years; this is the longest of any of the three previous patients with HIV who have gone into remission for a blood cancer and HIV. He was also already 63 years old when he received a transplant, making him the oldest patient to receive a transplant and go into remission for HIV and leukemia. 

The PLHIV specifically received a blood stem cell transplant in early 2019 for acute myelogenous leukemia from an unrelated donor who has a rare genetic mutation, homozygous CCR5 Delta 32. This mutation makes people who have it resistant to acquiring HIV. CCR5 is a receptor on CD4+ immune cells, with HIV using that receptor to enter and attack the body’s immune system. However, the CCR5 mutation blocks that pathway, thereby stopping HIV from replicating.

The “City of Hope patient” stopped showing any evidence of having replicating HIV virus since the transplant. This is even if he stopped taking ART for HIV in March 2021.

He actually continued ART for 25 months after aHCT and his ART levels remained undetectable 12 months post-analytic treatment interruption. After 14 months after stopping treatment and 39 months post-transplantation, there is no evidence of HIV RNA rebound and no detectable HIV DNA.

This new case is hoped to “open up the opportunity for older people living with HIV and blood cancer to receive a stem cell transplant and go into remission for both diseases.”

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