HIV cure in second patient brings hope to patients living with HIV
ST. PETERSBURG- Doctors say for the second time in more than 10 years, HIV has been completely eliminated from a patient.
The news is bringing hope to patients like David Wyland-White, who was diagnosed with HIV 25-years-ago and thought it was a death sentence.
“Did I expect to be here no,” Wyland-White said. “Did I expect to be talking about treatment as cures, no, this is completely not in my schema or my wheelhouse but thank god it is.”
The cure in the London Patient this year, comes more than a decade after the first patient was cured. Both received stem-cell transplants to fight an aggressive cancer.
“They gave them chemotherapy for cancer which killed all of that type of white blood cell,” Dr. Michael Karagiozis said. “Then they gave them a transplant of another type of white blood cell from a donor that did not have HIV. So they now have no HIV, because the HIV has no cells in which it can grow.”
HIV specialist Dr. Michael Karagiozis of CAN Community Health at Metro Inclusive Health says the treatment is too aggressive to be an option for every patient.
“It wipes out the native bone marrow,” Dr. Karagiozis said. “Which of course can kill people, and it does, people get to that stage and then they die of very simple diseases.”
But Dr. Karagiozis says this proves other stem- cell replacement therapies could lead to a cure, similar to immunotherapy for cancer patients.
“Generally we’re talking about cultivating cells,” Dr. Karagiozis said. “In this case the HIV virus, in that case, the immunoreceptors on the cancer cells.”
This research still has a long way to go, but there is a reason to be cautiously optimistic.
“To be honest,” Dr. Karagiozis said. “I had almost just a few years ago given up that I would ever see a cure for HIV in my lifetime, and now I think I just might live long enough to see that.”
“Amazing, awesome, exhilarated,” David Wyland-White said. “I’m just glad that I now believe I’m going to see a treatment in my lifetime.”
Dr. Karagiozis says this is just one HIV advancement for patients to be excited about and treatment’s come a long way in the last 25 years, and he encourages everyone to get tested.