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Timothy Brown is known as "The Berlin Patient"

12:08 PM, Sep 10, 2012   |    comments
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St. Louis (KSDK) -- The only man in the world cured of HIV is in St. Louis this week.

Timothy Ray Brown earned the nickname the Berlin Patient.  The Seattle native was diagnosed with HIV while living in Berlin, Germany, in 1995.  11 years later, he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  He underwent chemotherapy and then a bone marrow transplant.  His oncologist, Dr. Gero Huetter, suggested finding a donor without the CCR5 receptor.  The CCR5 receptor allows the HIV to attach to the T-cell and susequently infect the cell, spreading the disease.  People without CCR5 appear to be resistant to HIV infections.

A donor was found and thanks to the transplant, Brown's HIV was cured.

Experts say this is not practical for everyone who has HIV because bone marrow transplants are complicated and thsoe without the CCR5 receptor are very rare.  But, it does show there is a possiblity for a cure.

Tim  Brown is in St. Louis for an international Gene Therapy symposium at the Washington University School of Medicine.  Leaders from Italy, Germany, France and the United States will discuss the future of finding cures through gene therapy.

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