Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

HIV

Editing hope for a future cure

Nature 568, 244–248 (2019)

Until this year, the only person known to have been cured of HIV was an individual, known as the ‘Berlin patient’, who received two allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplants following total body irradiation, all to treat his acute myeloid leukemia. The cells used in these transplants lacked CCR5 (CCR5 Δ32/Δ32), a crucial HIV entry receptor leading to the cure.

This year, a person with HIV known as the ‘London patient’ went into remission following a single (CCR5Δ32/Δ32) allogeneic stem cell transplant without total body irradiation, indicating not only that the Berlin patient wasn’t a fluke but also that cell-based cure strategies needn’t be so toxic.

In parallel, scientists have been testing CRISPR technology to remove CCR5 from hematopoietic stem cells for transplant into HIV-infected individuals. A patient who was treated 19 months ago for acute lymphoblastic leukemia with these cells is alive, indicating that the approach is safe; however, the levels of CCR5 disruption in their lymphocytes are too low for them to stop antiretroviral drug therapy.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hannah Stower.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Stower, H. Editing hope for a future cure. Nat Med 25, 1799 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-019-0683-0

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-019-0683-0

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing