3 Amazing HIV Breathroughs of the 21st Century
Erynn Haskins | 1/15/2015, 5:12 p.m.
In the 1980’s HIV scare rose due to its devastating effects. It was presumed to be the ultimate death sentence. Nowadays people are living longer with HIV and with advanced technology we may be one step closer to a universal cure.
Timothy Ray Brown is the First Man Cured of HIV
Timothy Ray Brown became the first man to be cured of HIV in 2007 by receiving a stem-cell transplant. The man known as the “Berlin Patient” was diagnosed with HIV in 1995 while attending college. After a diagnosis of Leukemia in 2006, Brown admitted himself into a Berlin university hospital where he met Dr. Gero Hutter who would eventually cure him of HIV.
Dr. Hutter treated Brown with three rounds of chemotherapy and was able to find 267 matches HIV test for a stem-cell transplant while most patients with the virus fell short. To narrow the search, Dr. Hutter looked for a specific cell mutation called CCR5 Delta 32 which was known to make a person with the transplant virtually immune to HIV. After going through 60 potential donors, Hutter was able to find his patient’s best match.
Initially, Brown opted against the procedure but after Leukemia remission in 2007, Brown needed the transplant in order to save his life. He was then able to stop taking his antiretroviral medications and after just three short months, blood tests revealed Brown was HIV-free. Brown and his doctor had no idea they were onto a HIV breakthrough.
Now, Brown is able to live a healthy life as the first man cured of the virus. In 2012 he founded the Timothy Ray Foundation, part of the World AIDS Institute, and continues to offer his support to HIV research. “I will not stop until HIV is cured!”, Brown exclaimed.
Nicole Ticea Develops a Near Instant-Result HIV Testing System
In 2014 Nicole Ticea, a 10th grade student from York House School in Vancouver, made news when she collaborated with Simon Fraser University and developed an easy-to-administer HIV test using Isothermic Nucleic Acid Amplification.
The test, which is as simple as using a pregnancy test, requires only a drop of blood to instantaneously determine whether someone has been infected with the virus. Ticea’s test will undergo stringent review before being administered to the public but differentiates from other HIV testing systems because of its ability to amplify the virus instead of looking for antibodies to HIV as most HIV tests do. Viral amplification tests for HIV exist but are much more time consuming and expensive.Ticea hopes her project will make testing more accessible and efficient.
The development won first place in British Columbia’s 2014 Regional Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge, a contest for high school students to produce biotechnology projects and has also received widespread recognition.
Temple University Team Creates Technology That Removes HIV from DNA
Another amazing breakthrough towards finding a cure came about in 2014 when Temple University researchers in Philadelphia created a protein combo that targets, attaches itself and removes HIV in a cell’s DNA. The cells then repair themselves and become healthy again.
HIV has been difficult to eliminate because of its implantation in an individual’s DNA. HIV/AIDs drugs have been successful at keeping individuals alive but none have deemed a cure. Dr. Kamel Khalili and his team’s process has worked successfully on human cells in a laboratory and has administered animal testing to make sure it kills the HIV.
The next step for Dr. Khalil is to determine how to give it to humans. “We hope that the technology that we have developed can also help protect uninfected individuals from HIV.”, said Khalili. It may take several years for approval but he believes this process will also work for other viral infections as well as cancer.
For information on STD/HIV testing in your area, visit www.stdcheck.com