1st Man Cured of HIV Dies of Cancer: Charity

Henrietta Strickland
October 1, 2020

After a five-month battle with leukemia, the first known person to be cured of HIV has died of cancer, according to the International AIDS Society.

"On behalf of all its members and the Governing Council, the IAS sends its condolences to Timothy's partner, his family and friends".

To treat his leukaemia, his doctor at the Free University of Berlin used a stem cell transplant from a donor who had a rare genetic mutation that gave him natural resistance to HIV, hoping it may wipe out both diseases. Brown is thought to be the first patient ever to be cured of HIV infection.

The International AIDS Society, which had Brown speak at an AIDS conference after his successful treatment, issued a statement mourning his death and said he and Huetter are owed "a great deal of gratitude" for promoting research on a cure.

Mr Brown, 54, who was born in the U.S., was diagnosed with HIV while he lived in Berlin in 1995. A decade later, he was diagnosed with leukaemia, a cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.

Brown's death was confirmed by his partner Tim Hoeffgen on Facebook.

Only a tiny proportion of people - majority of northern European descent - have the CCR5 mutation that makes them resistant to the AIDS-causing virus.

He had been living with a recurrence of leukaemia for several months and received hospice care at his home in Palm Springs, California.

Since then, the famously shy Brown worked nonstop with scientists, doctors and researchers to learn more about a potential widespread cure.

As per the report, Brown, who passed away at 54, was born in the USA and was diagnosed while he lived in Berlin in 1995.

"Timothy symbolized that it is possible, under special circumstances" to cure HIV, Gero Hütter, the doctor who performed the stem cell transplant, tells the Associated Press.

After the intense cancer treatment which almost took his life and left him with lasting complications, Brown was also left with a new immune system resistant to the virus. "If you're able to take the white cells from someone and manipulate them so they're no longer infectable by HIV, and those white cells become the whole immune system of that individual, you've got essentially what we call a functional cure", Dr. Levy said, Plante reported.

While the transplant treatment also "cured" another man known as the London patient, the exact method is not one that's going to be widely available to the almost 38 million people worldwide living with the virus, experts say, according to HealthDay.

Ten years after Timothy Brown was cured, another man, Adam Castillejo, received a bone marrow transplant for Hodkin's lymphoma from another HIV-resistant donor: he too remains in remission and is considered to be the second man cured of HIV.

"It is the hope of the scientific community that one day we can honour his legacy with a safe, cost-effective and widely accessible strategy to achieve HIV remission and cure".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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