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Read Now: News and Research From IDWeek 2014

HIV Frontlines: The Doctor Who Cured HIV

An Interview With Gero Hütter, M.D.

June 19, 2012

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Looking Toward the Future

Before you came here this morning, you gave a talk at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center. What was it about?

I covered the Berlin patient story: what things we already know from the results; what is unclear and what is not detected; what are the consequences of the case; and how we can go on with this approach.

How many of these talks have you given over the past few years?

[Laughs] Oh, many. I like the idea of promoting the CCR5 story. Many people have heard of it, or read. But I think there are some details which are still [not known] for many people who didn't read it very carefully and have [ideas] of this case which are not quite true. So it's probably good to remember, then, what are the facts, and what can we learn from this case.

In addition to not knowing the details of the Berlin patient case, you mentioned earlier that some medical instiutions don't think to test allogenic transplant donors to see if they have the CCR5 deletion. Is that one of the reasons that you've been speaking -- to try to increase that level of education and communication?

Yeah. I want to promote the fact that we can do this testing for free [at our institution]. Someone will say, "Oh, no. Don't do this testing; it will cost us too much."

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I say, "No. It doesn't cost anything. I will cover all the costs." But they are always unsatisfied. Some say, "Yeah, we have such a patient. But we want to do this testing alone. We don't need your help."

They have made, here in the U.S., a trial for patients where they specifically look for CCR5-deleted cells, and for a few patients with leukemia and so on. It's an NIH [U.S. National Institutes of Health] trial. And all of [the people involved in] this study hadn't made contact with me. I found out about it from their presentation at CROI that they started it.

So you just hope that you make the connections and that ultimately it will start to come together.

I'm hoping for everything. I support every work which is in this direction. So, go on, if you have patients.

This transcript was edited for clarity. Special thanks to Terri Wilder, the director of HIV/AIDS education and training at the Center for Comprehensive Care at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, for arranging and facilitating this interview.

Check out our HIV Frontlines main page for more interviews with the men and women who work at the forefront of HIV prevention and care.

Myles Helfand is the editorial director of TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com. Follow Myles on Twitter: @MylesatTheBody

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: say mr moneybags (harare zimbabwe) Wed., Jan. 2, 2013 at 8:22 am EST
Interesting to know there others who care for total cure.its woth a try
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Comment by: Fahad (Jinja, UGANDA) Mon., Dec. 31, 2012 at 2:48 pm EST
Can this transplant be applied to even the poor African countries, because HIV is on our neck.
I beg that let thee be trials in Uganda too and I take part of the participation , I am dreaming of being cured.

Thanks
Reply to this comment


Comment by: Lori Haserl (White Plains, NY) Sat., Dec. 1, 2012 at 8:33 am EST
This statement, that someone was "cured" from the HIV virus is inncorrect. While his body has picked up a DNA instruction that now creates HIV resistance in the body, the HIV virus is still laying dormant in his body.If he was "cured" by standard definition of the word cured, then the virus would no longer be in his system. While i commend Dr. Gero Hutter, i would like to tell the author and the readers that the HIV path was stopped, not removed.
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Comment by: andrew (san francisco, ca) Sun., Sep. 16, 2012 at 9:28 pm EDT
this may be obvious to most, but just to underline it, modern medicine is really pretty amazing
Reply to this comment


Comment by: Jair G (Monterrey, México) Wed., Aug. 1, 2012 at 9:29 am EDT
amazing and hopeful...
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Comment by: neeta (india) Mon., Jul. 23, 2012 at 5:43 pm EDT
well done dr.hutter AND TERRI WILDER! God bless u!MY REQUEST TO U-KINDLY PROMOTE THIS INFORMATION TO MAXIMUM POPULATION OF WORLD,SO THAT WE ALL PEOPLE CAN PROVIDE OUR ANY POSSIBLE HELP,CONTRIBUTION TO U TO MAKE THIS RESEARCH A SUCCESS.PLEASE DEVICE A PROVISION TO MAKE US SEND MONETORY,OTHER COMTRIBUTION TO U DIRECTLY FOR SUCCES OF THIS RESEARCH.MAKE U R OWN TRIALS AND RESEARCH.GOD BLES!
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Comment by: lolki (wis) Sat., Jul. 21, 2012 at 2:52 pm EDT
it's obvious why there is no mainstream cure for hiv/aids there's more money to be made treating disease over curing them
Reply to this comment


Comment by: Lucy Q (Los Angeles, Ca ) Tue., Jul. 17, 2012 at 2:32 am EDT
Its so wounderful 2 read this :) , I was diegnosed HIV+ in May/2012 I was beyond scared . I'm reading into it know but the first few weeks I was 2 scared 2 do so . I'm keeping the faith always and this reading gives Me even more hope * May God give U the ability N B right by your side on your wounderful research * - Amen
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Comment by: Girish C. (India) Wed., Jul. 11, 2012 at 3:31 am EDT
Amazing and really unbelievable
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Comment by: salmina (south africa) Sun., Jul. 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm EDT
The story is being told of the lucky patient, what else can be done to the millions of people?Or is this pandemic the last to end the world?
It sounds strange everytime when anything promising come to forth, the issue of funding rises to its peak.
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Comment by: Michelle (Bronx) Sun., Jul. 8, 2012 at 2:58 am EDT
I believe that there should be some clinical trials in the New York area of the CCR5 trial so that you can find out just how many people have it or don't have it. I believe people would be willing to show up even if they are not given incentative just for the fact it could help cure/save their life.
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Comment by: Papa PPZ (South Africa) Fri., Jul. 6, 2012 at 7:55 pm EDT
People are dying of HIV/AIDS an offer can be made to the Dr and he can cure de world.He can help the whole world.
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Comment by: mr L (US) Fri., Jul. 6, 2012 at 1:23 pm EDT
Why people don't postively to hurry the for hiv
cure this unwanted desases or scientistic need more people die intention because that is clear Brown has already cured why don't accept the medicine to be supply all over the world.
Reply to this comment


Comment by: michael (los angeles) Tue., Jun. 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm EDT
here is a doctor who made a profound discovery and is trying to reach out to the whole community to come together and combine information, and then the world, especially the US ignores him and decides to do it by themselves...why? this is what happens when you try to make profit from the medical field. everybody wants to do their own thing so they can make a quick buck faster than the other guy........instead of welcoming this doctor's appeal to combine testing and create a central database for stem cells and a master list of people with no ccr5, they say no thanks.....this is sickening.
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Comment by: Miss Lee (SA ) Mon., Jun. 25, 2012 at 4:03 am EDT
Thats the best news ever - so why are you healing the rest of the world
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Comment by: Maria (South Africa) Fri., Jun. 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm EDT
thanks for the wonderful interview. I wish the medical doctors and researchers in this field start to realise how people are suffering and let them continue with the research for free for the benefit of the society. may God bless the DR who saved a life through this research and I wish he be supported. As a south africa who is HIV positive I feel like flying to Berlin to safe my life irrespective of the cost
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Comment by: Duncan (Dunedin, New Zealand.) Fri., Jun. 22, 2012 at 9:56 am EDT
Gero Hütter is a hero and a model for doctors worldwide! Medics with him motivations and his resources are the medics who are going to find THE CURE for this terrible disease we suffer from.

Thanks for the article, Myles. Keep publicising Gero Hütter. Make medics in other labs around the world sit up, take note, and copy his behaviour!
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Comment by: Luciano A (Mozambique) Thu., Jun. 21, 2012 at 2:53 pm EDT
I am HIV positive,discovered 1 year ago,i havent started with any treatment.
What can i do do be cured?
Reply to this comment
Replies to this comment:
Comment by: michael (los angeles) Tue., Jul. 31, 2012 at 6:05 am EDT
bombard your congressmen and government to expand stem cell research.


Comment by: Pauline Asgarali (Trinidad and Tobago....) Thu., Jun. 21, 2012 at 2:48 pm EDT
Angels Forever Foundation team support this information and we thank u 4 bringing to the people'.....god' bless every 1'....
Reply to this comment


Comment by: nelson vergel (The Moon) Thu., Jun. 21, 2012 at 2:19 pm EDT
Love the article, Myles!!
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