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10 HIV/AIDS Stories That Defined 2011 in the US

December 1, 2011


Berlin Patient: A Cure?

Berlin Patient: A "Cure"?

It's an unlikely story of hope: that of Timothy R. Brown (the "Berlin patient"), who doctors say has been "cured" of HIV via a stem cell transplant. In 2007, Brown was an American expatriate living in Berlin and facing death due to HIV-related complications and a relapse of leukemia. His German doctor had a radical suggestion: a stem cell transplant from a donor with an extremely rare genetic mutation that is resistant to most types of HIV.

The procedure was expensive and dangerous, but it worked. Brown has seen his viral load rendered undetectable without the need to take HIV medications. While the complexity, cost and risk of Brown's procedure make such a "cure" impossible for the larger population, it raises the question: By genetically modifying a person's stem cells, can we wipe out their HIV? Research is underway to find out.

Rod McCullom has written and produced for ABC News and NBC, and has reported for Ebony, The Advocate, Colorlines, the Black AIDS Institute and others. Rod blogs on politics, pop culture and black gay news at

Copyright © 2011 The HealthCentral Network, Inc. All rights reserved.

This article was provided by TheBody.
See Also
Top 10 HIV/AIDS-Related Clinical Developments of 2011
What's the Buzz? The Top 10 Stories on in 2011
Read More Articles From's 2011 HIV/AIDS Year in Review


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