An American man is still HIV-free more than three years after receiving a stem cell transplant, suggesting the first-ever cure of the virus that causes AIDS, German doctors said this week.
Though the highly risky technique used on the man known as the "Berlin Patient" would not work for most of the 33 million people with HIV worldwide, scientists say the research shows important progress toward a universal cure.
"Our results strongly suggest that cure of HIV has been achieved in this patient," said the study released Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Blood, a publication of the American Society of Hematology.
The process began in 2006 when a US man in his 40s, who had been HIV positive for more than a decade, sought treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia, a lethal blood cancer.
After a first round of chemotherapy failed, his German doctor, Gero Hütter, thought he would see if he could perform a bone marrow transplant using a donor with a rare genetic mutation that is naturally resistant to HIV.
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