World’s first patient to be cured of HIV, Timothy Ray Brown dies after blood cancer returned

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World's first patient to be cured of HIV, Timothy Ray Brown dies after blood cancer returned
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Brown no longer needed anti-viral medication after the transplant – he remained free of the virus that causes AIDS.

Timothy Brown, the first man to have once had HIV and then did not. Image: Center for Health Journalism

Timothy Ray Brown, the first person who got cured from HIV, has died from cancer. Better known as ‘the Berlin patient,’ he was the first person to be given a bone marrow transplant from a donor who was naturally resistant to HIV. This meant that Brown no longer needed anti-viral medication and remained free from the virus, which can lead to AIDS.

According to a report in BBC, the International Aids Society said Brown gave the world hope than an HIV cure was possible.

As per the report, Brown, who passed away at 54, was born in the US and was diagnosed while he lived in Berlin in 1995.

He developed a type of blood cancer called acute myeloid leukaemia in 2007 for which he had to have a bone marrow transplant from a donor with a rare nutation in a part of their DNA called the CCR5 gene.

Mutations to CCR5 essentially lock the door and give people resistance to HIV.

The news of Brown’s death was shared on social media by his partner Tim Hoeffgen.

Taking to Facebook, Hoeffgen wrote, “It is with great sadness that I announce that Timothy passed away at 3.10 pm this afternoon surrounded by myself and friends, after a 5-month battle with leukaemia.”

Hoeffgen further revealed that Timothy lived in Berlin from 1993 to 2010 with his former partner Michael Dastner while he worked in a cafe, and he was a German- English translator.

“He was diagnosed with HIV in 1995 and then in 2007 he was diagnosed with AML. He had two stem cell transplants that put his AML into remission and cured his HIV with the CCR5 delta 32 deletion,” he added.

His partner concluded the post by writing that he was truly blessed that they shared a life together and is heartbroken that his hero is now gone.

According to a Reuters report, Adeeba Kamarulzaman, president of the International AIDS Society (IAS) stated that they owe Timothy and his doctor, Gero Huetter, a great deal of gratitude, for opening the door for scientists to explore possibility for a cure to HIV.

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