First cord blood trial for HIV

The world’s first clinical trial to investigate if cord blood can cure HIV is set to start early next year in Spain. The study aims to treat five patients within three years and seeks to become the world’s first clinical trial of its kind.

The clinical trial will aim to recreate the success seen in Timothy Ray Brown, the only living person ever to be completely cured of HIV. He has since become known as The Berlin Patient.

Timothy Ray Brown was unfortunately diagnosed with leukaemia in 2006 and needed a transplant to treat the cancer. His doctor decided to use stem cells from a donor with a certain cellular mutation that makes cells resistant to HIV. After Brown received two stem cell transplants from the donor’s bone marrow, his levels of HIV decreased dramatically. He is now cancer-free and only traces of the virus can found, but they cannot reproduce.

Plans for the clinical trial were announced at a haematology conference in Valencia by Spain’s National Organisation of Transplants (ONT). ONT has selected 157 cord blood donors that have a genetic mutation which allows them to resist HIV and there are plans to treat five HIV positive patients that are also afflicted by cancer, such as leukaemia or lymphoma, similar to that of The Berlin Patient’s.

Doctors hoping to commence their first clinical trial between December 2015 and January 2016 in Madrid, Spain.