World’s first patient cured of HIV dies because of cancer 13 years after recovery. Thirteen years after he became the world’s first person to be cured of HIV, 54-year-old Timothy Ray Brown died after relapsing with cancer.
Updates on his death was shared by his partner, Tim Hoeffgen, in a Facebook post. “It is with great sadness that I announce that Timothy passed away…this afternoon surrounded by myself and friends, after a five-month battle with leukemia,” he said in the post, adding that Brown was his “legend” and “the sweetest person in the world”.
Timothy Ray Brown was born on March 11, 1966. As per reports, he had an interesting type of bone marrow transplant.
He became known as the ‘Berlin Patient’ after his HIV was cleared by treatment there in 2007, Reuters said in a report on his demise.
As per the report, his recovery from HIC “fascinated” and “inspired” a generation of doctors working on HIV. He also inspired patients infected with the virus that causes AIDS as his recovery offered them a hope that doctors would be able to discover a cure and end the AIDS pandemic.
“We owe Timothy and his doctor, Gero Huetter, a great deal of gratitude for opening the entryway for scientists to explore the concept that a cure for HIV is possible,” Adeeba Kamarulzaman, president of the International AIDS Society (IAS) was quoted as saying by Reuters.
It was in 1995 that Timothy Brown was diagnosed with HIV. At that he was living in the German capital, Berlin. Eleven years later, in 2006, he was also diagnosed with a type of blood cancer known as acute myeloid leukemia.
While Brown remained away from HIV for more than a decade after being treated in 2007, he had suffered a relapse of the leukemia in the past year, Reuters reported. It is learnt that his doctors said the blood cancer had spread to his spine and brain.
In the interim, speaking about Brown’s death, Dr Huetter, the German doctor who looked after him in 2007, said Brown’s case was a “shot in the dark”.
The treatment involved destruction of Brown’s immune system and the transplanting of stem cells with a quality mutation called CCR5 that resists HIV.
“Only a tiny proportion of people – most of them of northern European descent – have the CCR5 mutation that makes them resistant to the AIDS-causing virus. This and other factors made the treatment Brown had expensive, complex and highly risky,” Reuters reported.
Be that as it may, most experts say it could never become an approach to cure all HIV patients, since many of them would risk death from the procedure itself.
Globally, more than 37 million people are currently infected with HIV, and the AIDS pandemic has killed about 35 million people since it began during the 1980s.
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