Two HIV-positive patients in the United States who underwent bone marrow transplants for cancer have stopped anti-retroviral therapy and still show no detectable sign of the HIV virus, researchers said on Wednesday.
The Harvard University researchers stressed it was too early to say the men have been cured, but said it was an encouraging sign that the virus hasn't rebounded in their blood months after drug treatment ended.
The researchers, Timothy Henrich and Daniel Kuritzkes of the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, announced last year that blood samples taken from the men - who both had blood cancers - showed no traces of the HIV virus eight months after they received bone marrow transplants to replace cancerous blood cells with healthy donor cells. The men were still on anti-HIV drugs at the time.
The men have both since stopped anti-retroviral therapy — one 15 weeks ago and the other seven weeks ago — and show no signs of the virus, Henrich told an international AIDS conference in Malaysia on Wednesday.