Timothy Ray Brown

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Timothy Ray Brown (born 1966) is an American considered to be the first person cured of HIV/AIDS.[1][2] Brown was diagnosed with HIV in 1995 while studying in Berlin, Germany, giving him the nickname The Berlin Patient.[3]


In 2007, Brown, who was HIV positive, underwent a procedure known as hematopoietic stem cell transplantation to treat leukemia[4] (performed by a team of doctors in Berlin, Germany, including Gero Hütter). From 60 matching donors, they selected a [CCR5]-Δ32 homozygous individual with two genetic copies of a rare variant of a cell surface receptor. This genetic trait confers resistance to HIV infection by blocking attachment of HIV to the cell. Roughly 10% of people of European ancestry have this inherited mutation, but it is rarer in other populations.[5][6] The transplant was repeated a year later after a relapse. Over three years after the initial transplant and despite discontinuing antiretroviral therapy, researchers cannot detect HIV in the transplant recipient's blood or in various biopsies.[7] Levels of HIV-specific antibodies have also declined, leading to speculation that the patient may have been functionally cured of HIV. However, scientists emphasise that this is an unusual case.[8] Potentially fatal transplant complications (the "Berlin patient" suffered from graft-versus-host disease and leukoencephalopathy) mean that the procedure could not be performed in others with HIV, even if sufficient numbers of suitable donors were found.[9][10]

There is now doubt however that Timothy Brown's apparent cure was due to the unusual nature of the stem cells he received. As mentioned, he suffered graft-versus-host disease. Six more people seem (as of 2017) to have been freed of HIV after getting graft-versus-host disease, and only one of them had received CCR5 mutant stem cells. So it appears that when someone gets graft-versus-host disease the transplanted cells may kill off all the host's HIV-infected immune cells.[11]

Timothy Ray Brown Foundation[edit]

In July 2012, Brown announced the formation of the Timothy Ray Brown Foundation in Washington, DC, a foundation dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ADULT Stem Cell Transplant Cures HIV-Positive Man, Say Docs". Fox Nation. Retrieved 2015-01-20. 
  2. ^ Trudy Ring (2012-09-07). "Is Anyone Immune to HIV?". HIVPlusMag. Retrieved 2015-01-20. 
  3. ^ Andre Picard (2012-07-24). "Meet the man who was cured of HIV". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2015-11-20. Mr. Brown, an American from Seattle, was attending school in Berlin in 1995 when he tested positive for HIV. 
  4. ^ "German HIV patient cured after stem cell transplant". Belfast Telegraph. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  5. ^ "Bone marrow 'cures HIV patient'". BBC News. 13 November 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 
  6. ^ Novembre, J; Galvani, AP; Slatkin, M (2005). "The Geographic Spread of the CCR5 Δ32 HIV-Resistance Allele". PLoS Biology. 3 (11): e339. PMC 1255740Freely accessible. PMID 16216086. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030339.  open access publication – free to read
  7. ^ Allers, K.; Hutter, G.; Hofmann, J.; Loddenkemper, C.; Rieger, K.; Thiel, E.; Schneider, T. (2010). "Evidence for the cure of HIV infection by CCR5 32/ 32 stem cell transplantation". Blood. 117 (10): 2791–2799. PMID 21148083. doi:10.1182/blood-2010-09-309591. 
  8. ^ http://www.aidsmeds.com/articles/hiv_aids_stemcell_2042_14199.shtml
  9. ^ Levy JA (2009). "Not an HIV Cure, but Encouraging New Directions". N Engl J Med. 360 (7): 724–725. PMID 19213687. doi:10.1056/NEJMe0810248. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  10. ^ Lunzen, J.; Fehse, B.; Hauber, J. (2011). "Gene Therapy Strategies: Can We Eradicate HIV?". Current HIV/AIDS Reports. 8 (2): 78–84. PMID 21331536. doi:10.1007/s11904-011-0073-9. 
  11. ^ Clare Wilson (May 6, 2017). "Immune war with donor cells after transplant may wipe out HIV". New Scientist. 
  12. ^ "Man "cured" of AIDS: Timothy Ray Brown". CBSNews. Retrieved 2015-01-20.