Tag - timothy brown

How Researchers Are Now Trying to Cure More HIV+ People

We are constantly reading headlines about the latest HIV cure. After years of being exposed to these inflamed news reports, we may get desensitized to the fact that there is actually progress being made in that field. Ever since Timothy Brown was proven to be cured, the search for a cure for HIV that is accessible worldwide has intensified. There is more funding now as different research groups compete to get there first. But we have had set backs that have taught us important lessons.

I decided to interview two leading HIV Cure research advocates on a Google hangout (webcast) to pick their brains about what has happened to people who have entered HIV cure studies. In particular, I wanted to get an update on the outcome with people who have been exposed to stem cell transfers, stem cell/CD4 cell manipulation, and those who seemed to control the virus after stopping antiretrovirals. I hope you will find this webcast as enlightening as I did!


Richard Jefferys began working in the HIV/AIDS field in 1993 at the nonprofit AIDS Treatment Data Network in New York City. Since that time he has written for the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative’s IAVI Report and, in late 2001, he joined the Treatment Action Group (TAG) where he now directs the Michael Palm Basic Science, Vaccines and Cure Project. The project covers the pathogenesis and immunology of HIV infection and advocates for the development of immune-based therapies, effective vaccines, and a cure.

Robert Reinhard serves as the Community Liaison and a Steering Committee member of the CanCURE research consortium, a Canadian national team grant to understand the role of myeloid/macrophage cells in HIV persistence and cure strategies. He is also a research associate and community team member in the University of Toronto laboratory of Mario Ostrowski developing a therapeutic HIV vaccine. Robert is a member of the International AIDS Society Towards an HIV Cure Industry Collaboration working group.


Nelson, how is the man who got cured of HIV (The Berlin Patient) doing ?

Nelson, How is Timothy Brown doing?
Jun 13, 2012

I have read some of your post about Timothy Brown, the guy who was cured of HIV. I was shocked to find out he has been struggling here in the United States after he moved from Germany. How is he doing now? How is his health? Thanks

For more click here: Nelson, how is the man who got cured of HIV (The Berlin Patient) doing ?

Is The Berlin Patient Reinfected with HIV?- New data to interpret with caution

I have previously reported about Timothy Brown, aka “The Berlin Patient”, the man who was cured of HIV after going through chemotherapy, radiation and two bone marrow transplants donated by a man genetically resistant to HIV (more articles here: articles about Timothy Brown )
Concerning data was presented by Dr Steven Yukl et al  in a talk intitled “Challenges inherent in detecting HIV persistence during potentially curative interventions” at the International Workshop on HIV & Hepatitis Virus Drug Resistance and Curative Strategies held at Sitges, Spain on June 5-9, 2012.

In this presentation, it was discussed that very small amount of proviral DNA (not fully formed virus) had been detected in rectal mucosa tissue obtained from Timothy Brown. This proviral DNA did not resemble that of the original HIV virus that Timothy had before he got cured. But caution about these results quickly emerged as activists in an HIV cure working group in which I am a member discussed the implications of making quick conclusions out of these data.  Unfortunately, controversy has now started.
Richard Jeffreys from Treatment Action Group wrote a great piece as a response to a blog post made by Alain Lafeuillade, who runs the biannual HIV Persistence Workshop. Lafeuillade had  hinted about the fact that Timothy Brown may have been reinfected with HIV. Lafeuillade’s press release
It is important that the media understands that these new data do not conclude that Timothy has been reinfected so that no misleading news are spread before more discussions on this matter take place. Click here to read Richard Jeffrey’s response

John Cohen, a well known writer that follows HIV research, reported comments about the abstract with some more clarifications: http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2012/06/evidence-that-man-cured-of-hiv.html

NPR did a very good show on this controversy: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/06/13/154869103/traces-of-virus-in-man-cured-of-hiv-trigger-scientific-debate?ps=sh_sthdl

Lastly, Abbie Smith from Science Blogs expressed her views in clear ways about this unnecessary controversy: http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2012/06/14/bone-marrow-transplants-as-a-cure-for-aids-iv/

Doctors turn to cord blood transplants in hopes of curing patients with HIV

Timothy Brown made medical history when he became the first patient who was essentially cured of HIV, after receiving a stem cell transplant from a person who was genetically resistant to the infection.  Now, doctors are hoping to build on Brown’s success by treating HIV patients using cord blood units that have the same HIV-resistant gene.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/06/07/doctors-turn-to-cord-blood-transplants-in-hopes-curing-patients-with-hiv/#ixzz1xEyreJq2

Interview with the Berlin Patient in Houston

Timothy Ray Brown, aka “The Berlin Patient,” is the first person to be declared cured of HIV. A Seattle native living in Berlin until his recent move to San Francisco, he was diagnosed with leukemia in 2006 while living with HIV. Timothy underwent an innovative treatment for his cancer that resulted in not only a remission of his leukemia, but also having HIV completely eliminated from his body.
We were happy to have Brown speak on September 22 in Houston at two HIV-cure advocacy lectures sponsored by LIVE Consortium for the LGBT community and doctors at Baylor School of Medicine. His speech moved many in the audience to tears as they heard about his struggle and triumph. At the end of the speech, he was made an honorary citizen of Houston by Mayor Annise Parker. Following is a short interview with Brown.

Read more here:


The Cure of HIV is Possible- But We Need Your Help

After attending a meeting sponsored by several organizations (TAG, AMFAR, Project Inform, the AIDS Policy Project) in Baltimore on April 20-21 this year, I came to the realization that we needed a video that would wake people up to the challenges ahead of us to get to a cure of HIV that is accessible and practical.  As most of you know, the case of Timothy Brown (aka The Berlin patient), a person who got cured of HIV and leukemia 5 years ago, has jolted a new energy and hope in the search for the cure.  But most people with HIV, policy makers and potential funding sources are not fully aware of this case and what the new movement for a search for a cure are all about.  So, I decided to travel around the country to interview key players in advancing this field to make a short video that could serve as a catalyst for awareness and change. This short video, done with a very low budget with the help of my activist friend Greg Fowler, is only part of a longer, more detailed documentary to be finished before World AIDS Day this year, the 30 year anniversary of the first AIDS cases. Please watch it and forward it to your friends.  Please follow the suggestions made in that video and become part of the cure! Everyone can do something now to raise awareness and funds not only for research but also for advocacy and education in this important new and expanding area.  I hope I can count on you.

Taking care of ourselves on the road to the cure

Thursday, August 25
What is the latest info on healthy aging with HIV? On treatments to improve the quality of my life? Will I see the cure in my lifetime? Join Positive Force and three great speakers for answers to these questions – and more!

Nelson Vergel, HIV wellness advocate, expert, and author
Dr. James Romano, with a presentation on “Surgical Correction of HIV-related Features”
Special Guest Speaker: Timothy Ray Brown, the “Berlin Patient,” his story and inspiration on our road to the cure

– Strengthening your bones
– Protecting your cells against toxicity
– Preventing anal cancer
–  Facial fillers
– Treat visceral fat
– Hormonal concerns
– Cognitive concerns

Food and beverages will be served, so please RSVP. For more info or to RSVP: contact Justin.
Location: Rainbow Room, LGBT Center, 1800 Market Street (map)
Positive Force is a program by and for HIV positive gay, bi and transgender men. We build community for the thousands of men in SF living with HIV. HIV has many faces. Guys come to us from diverse backgrounds, looking for accurate information and to join in on fun events. Our programs offer the chance to mix it up with other poz guys and our allies too. To learn more about all we do, visit Positive Force’s home page.

Timothy Brown: The Other Side of the Cure

July 15, 2011

By now, we have all read several stories about Timothy Brown and watched his interviews on TV. For the few who have been living in a cocoon in the last few weeks and have not watched the news, I remind them that Tim, once known as the “Berlin patient,” is the man who was cured of HIV through a long and risky procedure of chemotherapy, radiation and a CCR5-negative stem cell transplant.

Ever since I saw the first poster presentation at the 2007 CROI conference that mentioned his case, I have been wondering what it would feel like to be cured. Until that moment, that thought had never crossed my mind. What would it be like not to have to take pills every day, not to have to worry about side effects, not to have to go see a doctor so frequently, not to have to be afraid of rejection, not to have to spend so much time reading medical information, not to be worried about drug resistance and death, not to feel different from others?

Timothy Brown and Nelson Vergel

I was happy to have met Timothy Brown this week while shooting my upcoming documentary on the challenges of HIV cure research. This great opportunity not only gave me a chance to get to know him but also to find out more about how it feels to be free of HIV while living in the United States.
Timothy graciously agreed to meet me for an interview in San Francisco, even though he had been asked to do this so many times in the past few months. He showed up dressed nicely in a suit, looking like a handsome businessman ready for an important meeting. I and my friend and camera person Greg Fowler put him through a series of questions, many that he had heard before, yet he kept his candid and approachable attitude throughout the interview while we had glaring lights on his face. I was able to ask him some personal questions about his struggle through his long but successful ordeal.
About a year ago, Timothy moved to the United States from Berlin, where he’d received the chemotherapy, radiation and two bone marrow transplants that got his leukemia in remission and his HIV wiped out of his body. The entire procedure was paid for by the German government. His oncologist and creative thinker, Dr. Gero Hütter, was a great advocate and supporter of his health who did not give up even after the first stem cell transplant failed to control Tim’s leukemia. Tim did not have to worry about his ability to pay for this expensive procedure; it was a benefit of living in a country that provides its people with health care. He is sure that had he been living in the U.S., he would not have fared that well and he would not be cured. For a doctor to think outside the box and be allowed to do such an innovative procedure would have required a lengthy process of institutional review boards in the United States, which would have deemed it too risky even in Tim’s justified risk-to-benefit situation.
Timothy’s lengthy one-year ordeal at the hospital did not stop when he left it. Walking home one night, he was mugged and hit on the head while he fell on his shoulder. His injuries are persistent to this day and he needs physical therapy. Due to the loss of his support system in Berlin, Tim decided to come to his home country to start a new life after years of living in Europe. What he found out after arriving here surprised him.
Now that Timothy is back in San Francisco he faces the obstacles of a system with no universal health care, in which he has to go through a long process to apply for benefits. He is HIV negative, so he cannot apply to be covered by Ryan White for his medical needs. His health is good, but he is still on his path to strengthen a body that has been affected by harsh chemotherapy after a year stay in the hospital and by injuries caused by his attacker. He is happy to have made medical history as the first living person cured from HIV, but he is now shocked about how complicated the U.S. benefits and health system’s bureaucracy has been. He told me that it is amazing that a country which was not his mother land cured him; and now his home country cannot support his continuing struggle to strengthen his health.
We all make assumptions about people we see on TV. His case is no exception. I assumed that he must be a man who is not only lucky but who has a support system that ensures his continuing healing. So I was surprised about how far from the truth that is in his case. He is not able to work due to his physical therapy needs, lives on a small budget with several roommates, and is trying to quickly adjust to the challenges of reentering a world he left behind years ago. Many TV programs and magazines have covered his success story, yet none has offered any help to make his life easier in this country. Hopefully, we as a community can be supportive of him as we open doors that can lead to his fast recovery and entry into the world of the living. He is committed to being a strong voice in HIV cure advocacy, and some of us in the activist world will ensure that he is supported in his wish. Fortunately, his strong and fighting spirit along with his grounded and welcoming energy will get him to the other side of his cure: his long-term wellness and stability.
As I left San Francisco today, I did so with the knowledge that I’d met a great and warmhearted survivor that needs our support. I am committed to helping to connect him to the network of my peers who will welcome him to our world of communal wisdom. As I see it, he is HIV negative now but very much part of our struggle. And we need him healthy and happy!
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