The ‘Berlin Patient’ ‘cured’ of HIV

The so-called ‘Berlin Patient’ has been in the news again as he has now reached 5 years of being clear of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV). Timothy Ray Brown has been interviewed on vaious media outlets giving his remarkable story.

He was HIV positive but later developed acute myeloid leukaemia which hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation. His tissue type matched a large number of donors one of which had natural resitance to HIV infection – an ‘elite controller’. His case was reported in The Scientific World Journal last year. A recent JAMA article gives a good overview of ‘elite controllers’.

This fascinating case raises a number of hopes about the future management of HIV infection. The current research is centred (still) on finding an effective vaccine and continuing the success of antiretroviral therapy.