Timothy Ray Brown, the first person to recover from HIV through stem cell transplantation, died of leukemia, a form of blood cancer.
His malignant cancer had recurred about five months earlier. Brown was cared for in his own home in Palm Springs, California. He died at the age of 54, according to the International AIDS Association (IAS) on September 29.
Brown was recognized as the first person to recover from HIV in 2008 following a stem cell transplant surgery, making history in medicine. He became a symbol of hope for the tens of millions of people living with AIDS.
Mr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman, IAS president, expressed his condolences for Mr. Brown’s departure: “We owe Timothy and his doctor, Gero Hutter. We are extremely grateful that they opened up. The door to scientists, that HIV can be cured “.
Brown’s partner Tim Hoeffgen emphasized that the cause of death was due to recurrent leukemia, not related to HIV.
“Timothy always wanted to be remembered as the man who gave hope to every patient in the world, that HIV is not a death sentence,” he said.
Brown was diagnosed with HIV while studying in Berlin in 1995. About 10 years later, he developed leukemia. For treatment, the doctor used a donor stem cell transplant with a rare genetic mutation, giving him natural resistance to HIV in the hopes of eradicating both diseases.
He went through two painful and dangerous tricks, but they worked. In 2008, Brown recovered from both HIV and leukemia. Two years later, he decided to speak up for the first time about the process of fighting two diseases and started to set up a private charity fund for people in the same situation.
“I am living proof that there is a way to cure AIDS. It is great not to have HIV,” he said in an interview in 2012.
Ten years after Brown’s successful treatment, the second world recognized the second person completely recovered from HIV: “London patient”. Last August, a woman in California was reported to have no trace of the pathogen in her body, even though she did not take antiviral therapy.
Sharon Lewin, IAS president and director of the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, Australia, hailed Brown as a “champion”, expressing her support for the bone marrow transplant method despite certain risks.
“The scientific community hopes to one day honor his legacy with a safe, effective and affordable treatment strategy, with a broad enough reach to eliminate HIV, using genetic versions. or techniques to enhance immune control, “he said.
Thuc Linh (Follow AFP)