'London patient' cured of HIV reveals identity for the first time

'London patient' cured of HIV reveals identity for the first time

Adam Castillejo was known until recently as the "London patient".

A man in London has become the second person to be ever cured of HIV after undergoing stem cell transplant treatment.

Two days before the conference was set to open in Boston, organizers decided to make the meeting virtual due to concerns about the coronavirus.

Now, writing in the journal Lancet HIV, researchers say that 30 months after stopping antiretroviral drugs - medications that suppress HIV - and 46 months since the transplant, Castillejo remains in remission. He has been HIV-free for more than a decade now.

"After 2.5 years off antiretrovirals and lack of evidence for any active virus, this nearly certainly represents cure", Gupta told the Bay Area Reporter. Adam Castillejo - the now 40-year-old "London patient" who has chose to make his identity public - has no detectable active HIV infection in blood, sperm or tissue, according to his doctors.

Castillejo first found out that he had HIV in 2003, when he was only 23 years old. He is now leading a healthy and active life. He added that he wants to be an ambassador of hope. According to the Times story, he spoke with Brown repeatedly before deciding to reveal his identity.

The donors had an uncommon gene that gives them protection from the virus. Such transplants are risky, and both Castillejo and Brown needed the transplants to treat cancer, rather than for HIV.

HIV, or the human immunodeficiency viruses, lead to AIDS over time, which in turn cause immune system failure.

The other cured HIV patient is known as the "Berlin Patient" and has been off ART therapy for 13 years with undetectable plasma HIV RNA.

In 2011, Castillejo found out that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma. The procedure involves the transplantation of multipotent stem cells usually derived from bone marrow, peripheral blood or umbilical cord blood. But he received less aggressive chemotherapy than Brown and was able to stay on antiretroviral therapy. "Most HIV needs to attach itself to the CD4 receptor and the CD5 receptor to get into the cell and become infected", Ragonnet-Cronin tells Dazed, "but some people have a mutation in their CCR5 receptor called Delta 32, which means it's really hard for HIV to attach itself to the cell". In September 2017, with no evidence of viable HIV in his blood, he stopped his antiretrovirals in a closely monitored analytic treatment interruption. "Intestinal lymphoid tissue is an important HIV reservoir and HIV-1 DNA was negative in gut biopsy samples". T cells or macrophages that don't express CCR5 are protected from infection with strains of HIV that use that receptor.

His treatment included two rounds of stem cell transplant, as well as a total body irradiation and a chemotherapy drug regimen to target any residual HIV virus.

In an accompanying comment, Jennifer Zerbato, PhD, and Sharon Lewin, MD, PhD, both of the University of Melbourne in Australia, noted two important points: namely that the low levels of HIV DNA were found "not intact, consistent with archival fragments that can not replicate" and that based on a mathematical model, Gupta and colleagues calculated that the patient had "greater than 90% chimerism in circulating T cells", thus "the chance of future viral rebound while off ART [antiretroviral therapy] is negligible".

Related Articles

  • House of Commons tours cancelled until April 20 due to COVID-19

    House of Commons tours cancelled until April 20 due to COVID-19

    The prime minister said that while it is "an inconvenience" and "somewhat frustrating", self-isolating is what he has to do. He is going to be in self-isolation for the next 14 days, alongside his family, but will be continuing his duties.
    Rumour-mongering about COVID-19 is a punishable offence now

    Rumour-mongering about COVID-19 is a punishable offence now

    Moreover, 83 evacuees from Italy who arrived in India on Wednesday have been housed at the Manesar quarantine facility. Worldwide traffic through land borders will be restricted to designated check posts with robust screening facilities.

    XFL suspends '20 regular season, committed to '21

    ORIGINAL: According to Konnor Fulk of XFL News Hub, the XFL will be suspending their season due to the Coronavirus. For five weeks, Korren Kirven worked with Team 9, the name given to the XFL's league-wide practice squad.
  • "India Ahead Of The Curve": Trump Does A Namaste Amid Coronavirus Scare

    Businesses are asked to take measures to minimise face-to-face contact and to implement measures to limit contact where possible. The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) announced the new cases at a briefing in Dublin today.
    ‘Bad loser’ Klopp takes swipe at Atletico tactics

    ‘Bad loser’ Klopp takes swipe at Atletico tactics

    The game continued to be one-sided one in the second half with Liverpool fiercely attacking Diego Simeone's team but without succeeding.
    A Quiet Place Part II Delayed As Coronavirus Continues

    A Quiet Place Part II Delayed As Coronavirus Continues

    It's not yet confirmed what date the release might be rescheduled for. We'll keep you updated on anything else that gets bumped.
  • LEGO Super Mario Launching Later This Year

    LEGO Super Mario Launching Later This Year

    Mario's expressive face is nearly as much of a delight as being able to own a Lego-fied version of his moustache. According to The LEGO Group's press release , LEGO Super Mario will be launching later this year.
    Just In: Chelsea Winger Tests Positive For Coronavirus

    Just In: Chelsea Winger Tests Positive For Coronavirus

    In the meantime, the men's team building, one of several separate buildings at our training ground, will remain closed. Chelsea are scheduled to play Aston Villa in Birmingham on Sunday (NZ time) but that match is certain to be cancelled.
    Google tells staff to work home due to coronavirus

    Google tells staff to work home due to coronavirus

    Google had previously told employees in the San Francisco Bay Area , Dublin and Seattle to work from home in recent days. The coronavirus continued to spread in the U.S.as health officials enforce new measures to contain the spread.
  • Cambodia bans cruise ships, fearing spread of COVID-19

    Cambodia bans cruise ships, fearing spread of COVID-19

    Leonard said that some small-vessel companies based in Southeast Alaska would not be affected by the Canadian port closures. Under U.S. law, that means they can't sail between two U.S. ports without also visiting a foreign country.
    Polar ice sheets are melting six times faster than in 1990s

    Polar ice sheets are melting six times faster than in 1990s

    But moving into the 22nd century, the waterline is likely to go up ten times faster, even under an optimistic emissions scenario. Ivins also stated that computer simulations obtained from satellite images reveal climate change scenarios more strikingly.
    China government spokesman says USA  military may have bought virus to China

    China government spokesman says USA military may have bought virus to China

    Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang on Thursday called OBrien's remarks "extremely immoral and also irresponsible". The United States, meanwhile, has angered China by using language directly linking the virus to the country.