IAS bids sad farewell to Timothy Ray Brown, the first person to be cured of HIV
By Judith Ufford
The International AIDS Society, IAS today mourns the passing of Timothy Ray Brown, the first person to be cured of HIV popularly known as the ‘Berlin patient.’
In a statement by IAS, president and professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of Malaya Adeeba Kamarulzaman, said: “On behalf of all its members and the Governing Council, the IAS sends its condolences to Timothy’s partner, Tim, and his family and friends”.
“We owe Timothy and his doctor, Gero Hütter, a great deal of gratitude for opening the door for scientists to explore the concept that a cure for HIV is possible,” he added.
Timothy was cured of HIV in 2008 after undergoing a complex stem cell transplant for lymphoma. For the past six months, Timothy had been living with a recurrence of the leukaemia that had entered his spine and brain. He had remained HIV free.
Timothy, living with HIV and with acute myeloid leukaemia, received a bone marrow transplant in Berlin, Germany, in 2007. The donor was naturally resistant to HIV infection because of a mutation in the CCR5 gene, a critical protein required by HIV to enter and infect cells.
Timothy stopped antiretroviral therapy (ART) very soon after the transplant and he remained free of any detectable virus. In other words, he was cured. His experience suggested that HIV might one day be curable. This fuelled a range of efforts by researchers and institutions focusing on HIV cure research.