For the first time, a man has been declared officially cured of HIV. The remedy may nearly have killed him, but it opens a door—just a crack—to hope that we may someday kill off the scourge for good.
Strangely enough, the diagnosis that most concerned Timothy Ray Brown in 2007 was acute myeloid leukemia. HIV has been increasingly thought of as a manageable disease , though certainly a terribly burdensome one. What brought the 42-year old Brown under the care of Germany's Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin hospital was the more immediate threat his cancer posed.
The treatment Brown underwent was aggressive: chemotherapy that destroyed the majority of his immune cells. Total body irradiation. Finally, a risky stem-cell transplant that nearly a third of patients don't survive—but that appears to have completely cured Brown of HIV .
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