(TMU) — The second man to undergo stem-cell treatment for HIV has been cured for 30 months, according to doctors.
Adam Castillejo is still free of the virus and has no trace of it in his blood, urine, semen, or tissues more than 30 months after stopping anti-retroviral therapy, according to a report in the journal Lancet HIV.
The donors of those stem cells have an uncommon gene that gives protection against HIV. While this isn’t a widely acceptable cure, it is a step forward. However, the doctors involved note that while stem-cell transplants appear to stop the virus from being able to replicate inside the body by replacing the patient’s own immune cells with donor ones that resist HIV infection, the treatment is high-risk.
“It is important to note that this curative treatment is high-risk and only used as a last resort for patients with HIV who also have life-threatening haematological malignancies,” Professor Ravindra Gupta said. Adding, “Therefore, this is not a treatment that would be offered widely to patients with HIV who are on successful anti-retroviral treatment.”
It is worth noting that stem-cell therapy was primarily used to treat the patient’s cancer, not his HIV.
Currently, HIV drugs remain very effective allowing those infected to live healthy normal lives, so most won’t undergo this risky treatment even if it has positive results.
Still, doctors are hopeful that this is a step forward in reaching a universal cure for HIV potentially using gene therapy.
The most commonly used receptor by HIV-1 is CCR5 and scientists believe that those humans who are born with mutated copies of this receptor may be the answer.
A very small number of people who are resistant to HIV have two mutated copies of the CCR5 receptor. This mutation apparently stops the penetration of cells in the body that HIV normally infects.
Researchers say it may be possible to use gene therapy to target the CCR5 receptor in people with HIV.
The lead researcher, Professor Ravindra Kumar Gupta from the University of Cambridge, told BBC News:
“This represents HIV cure with almost certainty.
We have now had two and a half years with anti-retroviral-free remission.
Our findings show that the success of stem-cell transplantation as a cure for HIV, first reported nine years ago in the Berlin Patient, can be replicated.“
In 2011, another patient, Timothy Brown, became the first person reported as cured of HIV three and half years after having a similar treatment to Castillejo. Despite being cured of the virus, both men still have remnants of it inside their bodies so it is impossible to know whether or not the HIV will someday return.
As professor Sharon Lewin, from the University of Melbourne, Australia, stated:
“Given the large number of cells sampled here and the absence of any intact virus, is the London Patient truly cured?
The additional data provided in this follow-up case report is certainly encouraging but unfortunately, in the end, only time will tell.”
Keanu Reeves Praised As Video of Him Offering Seat to Lady in Subway Resurfaces
Keanu Reeves is an actor who has long been loved by audiences —and not necessarily due to his acting skills, but due to how nice the John Wick star is.
And now, Reeves is once again earning praise as a “true gentleman” after resurfaced video footage shows Reeves giving up his seat on the subway.
The clip was shared by Instagram film fan account Cinemonkeys where it has since earned nearly 45,000 likes.
The video footage dates back to 2011, when it was shared on YouTube by a user of the video-sharing platform.
At the time, Reeves was already a superstar riding on the fame he earned from the Matrix, Speed, and a number of other blockbuster hits.
When Reeves notices a woman carrying a heavy bag, he quickly points to his seat and asks if she would like to sit. The woman accepts and Reeves gets up without hesitating to let her take his seat.
Reeves, ever the model citizen, then stands and holds onto a subway pole while carrying his bag.
The video has since been watched over 27 million times and was even cited in a 2019 Time magazine profile of the actor describing Reeves as the “soul mate” of the internet.
The resurfacing of the clip on Instagram once again impressed users of the platform.
“This human being’s soul honestly shines so bright,” wrote one user.
“OMG I love him in every single way,” another person commented.
“His kindness knows no bounds,” commented someone else.
Keanu is set to reprise his role as Neo in the upcoming fourth Matrix film directed and written by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the earlier trilogy with her sister Lilly. He will also return to the silver screen in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released in 2022.
Drunk Man Rescues Injured Baby Bird By Sending It To Animal Shelter… In An Uber
An injured baby bird received a new lease on life after a young man who was inebriated had the good sense to send the little creature to an animal shelter because he and his friends were too drunk to drive.
In the Summer of 2019, a small lesser goldfinch suddenly appeared by itself at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The center’s chairman, Buz Marthaler, was notified by a volunteer who sent him a photo.
“It was a picture of this bird, and it had come by Uber,” Marthaler told FOX13. “It was just crazy.”
As it turns out, the tiny bird – which was only two weeks old – indeed rolled up to the site by its lonesome, the sole passenger in an Uber vehicle called by concerned citizens who found the injured creature.
Among those good Samaritans was Tim Crowley, who had been “day drinking” on that Saturday before he and his buddies witnessed the little bird fall from the sky.
“Impromptu, sitting in some camp chairs, hanging out, having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky,” he explained.
Crowley then snapped a photo of the bird and sent it to the WRCNU, which instructed him to immediately bring the bird in. However, the group obviously couldn’t drive since they had been guzzling booze all day.
So Crowley decided he’d hail a cab for the creature.
“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he said. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”
As it turns out, the bird – since named “Petey Uber” by staff at the rescue center – likely would have perished if not for Crowley’s quick thinking.
Marthaler remains impressed by Crowley’s move and shared the news on its Facebook page.
“While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong,” the shelter’s post read. “Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well.”
Binx the Cat, Who Survived Florida Condo Collapse, Found and Reunited With Family
Amid the tragedy of last month’s collapse of a South Florida condo building, there was a tiny bit of good news when a cat named Binx, who lived on the ninth floor of the Surfside building, was found safe and returned to his family.
“I’m glad that this small miracle could bring some light into the lives of a hurting family today and provide a bright spot for our whole community in the midst of this terrible tragedy,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava in a Friday press conference, reports NPR.
Levine Cava explained that a volunteer who feeds street cats in the area recognized the cat near the building before bringing him to an animal shelter, where it was then identified.
Gina Nicole Vlasek, the co-founder of the The Kitty Campus rescue group, posted on Facebook that a black cat had been found near the rubble of the group before it was brought to the shelter on Thursday night.
“We are so grateful to be able to help in any small way,” Vlasek said.
“All we needed was a ray of hope in this tragedy,” she continued. “Today was one of the most amazing days.. one of the survivors came to see the cat and to determine if it was her families cat and IT WAS!”
The mayor said that animal control workers are continuing to work to recover any pets that may have survived the horrible collapse.
The 12-story Surfside condo collapsed on June 24. At least 79 people have been confirmed dead, with 61 additional residents remaining unaccounted for.
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