Regenerating blood: towards engineering HIV-1-resistant hematopoietic stem cells

Free to access editorial from our latest Regenerative Medicine issue by Gero Hütter

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Dec 16, 2014

“...HIV‑1 gene therapy has opened the promise of a single shoot treatment that might replace, or at least amend, current antiretroviral lifelong treatment.”

It has been now three decades since HIV‑1 was first recognized and nearly 20 years since combined antiretroviral therapy (HAART) improved the outcome of the infection effectively. However, although this success story has helped to transform HIV‑1 infection into a more chronic disease, there is still no vaccine or curative treatment available. Additionally, medicines to treat HIV‑1, particularly the newest and most tolerable drugs, are expensive and only available in high income countries, whereas the peak of infected people live in low or middle income countries. [...] The only and most compelling evidence of a medical intervention that cured HIV‑1 infection has been a successful hematopoietic stem cell transplant in an adult infected patient (the ‘Berlin patient’) transferring donor derived cells from a individual homozygous for the CCR5-Δ32 deletion, which confers resistance against HIV‑1 transmission. The lack of rebounding virus after 6 years without therapy, the failure to isolate infectious virus and the fading HIV‑specific immune responses indicate that the patient has been effectively cured[7,8].

By Gero Hütter

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7. Hütter G, Nowak D, Mossner M et al.Long term control of HIV by CCR5 Delta32/Delta32 stem cell transplantation.

N. Engl. J. Med. 360(7), 692–698 (2009).

8. Yukl SA, Boritz E, Busch M et al. Challenges in detecting HIV persistence during potentially curative interventions: a study of the Berlin patient. PLoS Pathog. 9(5), e1003347 (2013)

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Regenerative Medicine

Journal, Future Science Group

Regenerative Medicine is an award-winning peer-reviewed journal, in print and web formats. The journal provides a forum to address the important challenges and advances in stem cell research and regenerative medicine, delivering this essential information in concise, clear and attractive article formats. Among other indexing services Regenerative Medicine is listed by MEDLINE/Index Medicus, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Chemical Abstracts, Science Citation Index Expanded™ (SciSearch®), Emcare, Biological Abstracts, BIOSIS Previews, Biotechnology Citation Index®, Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition®, Scopus® with an Impact Factor of 2.786 (2014). Each issue contains expertly drafted Reviews, Original Research articles, Perspectives, Editorials, topical insight from international leaders in their field, and additional added-value content. The Senior Editor of the journal is Professor Chris Mason, University College London. You can find out more about Regenerative Medicine at our website (, where you can find the aims and scope of the journal and details of our international editorial board.


Go to the profile of Elena Conroy
Elena Conroy about 5 years ago

"I Am the Berlin Patient: A Personal Reflection" first patient cured by HIV speaks about his journey with the disease, acute myeloid leukemia and his journey to recovery with help of Dr Gero Hütter