First person cured of HIV, dies of cancer

Timothy Ray Brown, the first person cured of HIV, has died of cancer

Timothy Ray Brown, the first person cured of HIV, has died of cancer. He was 54-year-old. Brown was known as “the Berlin patient” and was given a bone marrow transplant in 2007 which made him resistant to HIV.

Brown died on Tuesday at his home in Palm Springs, California, according to a social media post by his partner, Tim Hoeffgen.

Brown was working in Berlin as a translator when he was diagnosed with HIV in 1995. Then in 2007, he developed a type of blood cancer called acute myeloid leukaemia. His treatment involved destroying his bone marrow, which was producing the cancerous cells, and then having a bone marrow transplant.

Gero Huetter, the Berlin physician who led Brown’s historic treatment wanted to try to cure the HIV infection as well by using a donor with a rare gene mutation that gives natural resistance to the Aids virus.

Brown’s first transplant in 2007 was only partly successful: his HIV seemed to be gone but his leukemia was not. He had a second transplant from the same donor in 2008 and that one seemed to work.

But his cancer returned last year. “I’m still glad that I had it,” he said of his transplant. “It opened up doors that weren’t there before and inspired scientists to work harder to find a cure,” Brown told the Associate Press.