U.S. News

HIV Patient Timothy Brown Is the Boy Who Lived

June 15, 2011

Timothy Brown did not set out to become a beacon of hope for an end to AIDS, but that is what has happened.

Brown learned he was HIV-positive in 1995. Then in 2006, he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. He underwent a stem-cell transplant at University Hospital in Berlin, performed by oncologist Gero Huetter and colleagues. Of the 230 possible donor matches for Brown, Huetter deliberately picked one who carried genetic resistance to HIV, with the goal of tackling both Brown's HIV and leukemia.


Brown, known in medical circles as the "Berlin Patient," was the focus of a case study in the New England Journal of Medicine in February 2009. Twenty months after Brown's immune system was destroyed by radiation and rebuilt with donated bone marrow, Huetter's team reported they could not detect HIV in his body.

In the 30 years since AIDS was first reported, talk of a cure has been downplayed, even viewed as a distraction from the critical tasks of prevention and treatment. But in a June 7 Annals of Internal Medicine report, Drs. Anthony Fauci and Carl W. Dieffenbach of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases abandoned their reluctance to discuss cures, noting that Brown's case offers proof of concept that the fight against HIV/AIDS can advance beyond daily drug cocktails.

Recently, Brown spoke in San Francisco at an American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) event entitled "Cure -- Still a Four-Letter Word?" "It's an incredible feeling -- like a miracle," Brown said. "I had two lethal diseases and was able to get rid of both of them."

Back to other news for June 2011

Adapted from:
Los Angeles Times
06.05.2011; Melissa Healy

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
No Proof of New HIV Cure, Despite Headlines -- Here's What We Know
The Only Cases of HIV Cure or Remission
Beyond the Berlin Patient: How Researchers Are Now Trying to Cure More HIV-Positive People (Video)
What Would an HIV Cure Mean for You?

No comments have been made.

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:


The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our content and advertising policies.