British man undergoes bone marrow transplant, apparently cured of HIV

Posted: Updated:
COPIAGUE -

A man with HIV has apparently been cured after undergoing a bone marrow transplant, giving hope to others that the medical accomplishment could eventually lead to a cure for all those living with the virus that causes AIDS.

Clara Crawford, of Copiague, has been living with HIV for 31 years. She says she contracted the virus from her husband, John Harris, who died of AIDS at age 42 in 1986. Since then, Crawford says she's been praying the virus wouldn't end her life.

"I prayed and I'm like, 'Lord, let me live,' because my kids were young. 'Let me live until my kids graduate from high school,'" Crawford says.

Researchers say an HIV-positive man in England has become the second known adult worldwide to be cleared of the virus after he received a bone marrow transplant from an HIV-resistant donor. According to the case study, the donor had a genetic mutation known as "CCR5-delta 32," which provides a resistance to HIV. Researchers say the "London patient," whose case was reported in the journal Nature, has been in remission for a year and a half. He asked his medical team not to reveal his identity.

Ten years ago, a man known as the "Berlin patient" received a similar treatment and was considered cured of his HIV infection.

Experts say the case points to the idea that scientists will one day be able to end AIDS and that it marks a critical moment in the search for an HIV cure. But it does not mean a cure has already been found.

"I think it's just another step in the long journey of finding treatments, finding a way to outsmart this very clever virus," says John Haigney, CEO of the Long Island Association for AIDS Care.

Researchers plan to use the new findings to explore potential new HIV treatment strategies such as gene therapy.

Crawford says she hopes she'll live to see the day when scientists finally find a cure.

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