The London Patient: 30 Months Free of HIV
Photo credit: Andrew Testa/The New York Times
One year after scientists reported they were unable to find any remaining HIV in a stem cell transplant patient from London, the researchers provided an update on the case at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. The Conference was held online, March 8-11, owing to the coronavirus outbreak.
The “London patient” emerged from the shadows in a New York Times story published on March 9, revealing himself to be 40-year-old Adam Castillejo. According to the Times, he finally decided to go public after wrestling with the decision, given the attention that might follow. “This is a unique position to be in, a unique and very humbling position,” he told the Times. “I want to be an ambassador of hope.”
Mr. Castillejo has not experienced a rebound of his HIV during the past 30 months off antiretroviral therapy (ART). His is the longest duration of ART-free undetectable virus in an adult since the Berlin patient, who is believed to have been cured by a similar procedure more than a decade ago.
“I want to be an ambassador of hope.”Lead investigator Dr. Ravi Gupta of the University of Cambridge, UK, and colleagues, several funded by amfAR, published their findings in the journal Lancet HIV. With the passing of 12 additional months without viral rebound, and intensive blood and tissue analyses, the scientists now conclude that “this represents HIV-1 cure.”
Castillejo is part of amfAR’s ICISTEM research consortium, which has enrolled the largest international cohort of patients with cancer and HIV who have received or soon will receive stem cell transplants.
Read our original reporting on the London patient at https://www.amfar.org/Breakthrough-PR/
For more information on the promise and challenges of stem cell therapy for curing HIV, visit https://www.amfar.org/What-Stem-Cell-Transplants-Can-Teach-Us-About-Curing-HIV/