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World's first ever person to be cured of HIV dies of cancer

Thursday, October 1, 2020 • Tamil Comments

Timothy Ray Brown, who made history as the first known person in the world to be cured of HIV, has died of cancer at the age of 54 in Palm Springs, California.

Brown, who was born in March 1966, was diagnosed with HIV in 1995 while he was living in Germany. He was later diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, a type of blood cancer, in 2006. He started receiving chemotherapy for his cancer in 2007 and 2008. At that point, he apparently became so sick that he went into a coma. Brown then underwent stem cell transplants from a donor who was immune to HIV. Later that year, the doctors had declared him cured. "If you're able to take the white cells from someone and manipulate them so they're no longer infectable by HIV, and those white cells become the whole immune system of that individual, you've got essentially what we call a functional cure," Dr. Jay Levy, a co-discoverer of the HIV virus, informed an international news agency. Unfortunately, Brown's cancer returned last year even though he remained clear of HIV for over a decade. His doctors reportedly said that the blood cancer had spread to his spine and brain, and that he was under treatment in his home town of Palm Springs, California.

Following the diagnosis, Timothy Ray Brown spoke about his transplant and how it paved way for more research in the field. "I'm still glad that I had it. It opened up doors that weren't there before and inspired scientists to work harder to find a cure," Brown had reportedly stated last year. Adeeba Kamarulzaman, president of the International AIDS Society, mourned the loss of Brown. "On behalf of all its members and the Governing Council, the IAS sends its condolences to Timothy's partner, Tim, and his family and friends. We owe Timothy and his doctor, Gero Huetter, a great deal of gratitude for opening the door for scientists to explore the concept that a cure for HIV is possible," she said. Brown's partner informed the news of his passing in a Facebook post. He mentioned that Brown "committed his life's work to telling his story about his HIV cure and became an ambassador of hope." His partner further added, "I am truly blessed that we shared a life together but I'm heartbroken that my hero is now gone. Tim was truly the sweetest person in the world. Tim's spirit will live on and the love and support from family and friends will help me through this most difficult time."

 

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