68-Year-Old Man Achieves HIV-1 Remission with Stem Cell Transplant for Leukemia

A 68-year-old man named Paul Edmonds, who had been living with HIV-1 for 33 years, has successfully achieved remission from both HIV and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) after undergoing a stem-cell transplant at the City of Hope, a non-profit clinical research center and hospital. Edmonds received the transplant from a donor with a rare genetic mutation known as the delta-32 mutation, which has been associated with resistance to HIV-1 infection. The procedure was performed in February 2019, and Edmonds has been free of HIV-1 for 35 months now. This case opens up possibilities for other older individuals with HIV and blood cancer to receive a transplant and achieve remission for both diseases if a donor with the same genetic mutation can be identified.

HIV, which attacks the body’s immune system, can lead to AIDS if left untreated. Although there is no cure for HIV, it can be managed with antiretroviral therapy (ART). The stem-cell transplant that Edmonds underwent not only treated his AML but also put his HIV-1 in remission, allowing him to stop ART. This successful outcome raises the hope for other HIV patients with blood cancer to potentially achieve the same results. However, experts caution that more research is needed, and the use of stem-cell transplantation to cure HIV is still in the early stages. Nevertheless, this case demonstrates the progress that has been made in finding effective and well-tolerated treatments for people with HIV and the potential for simultaneous remission from HIV and blood cancer in older patients.

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