The world of health and medicine is currently dealing with some tragic news. The first person to be cured of HIV has died of leukemia.
According to the Associated Press, Timothy Ray Brown, otherwise known as “the Berlin patient,” died on Tuesday at his home in Palm Springs, California. Brown’s death was due to an unexpected return of his cancer after it was cured in the late-2000s.
Brown became a medical wonder after receiving bone marrow and stem cell transplants in 2007 and 2008 while working in Berlin as a translator. While living abroad, Brown had been diagnosed with not only HIV but leukemia. Transplants are known as an effective treatment for leukemia, but Dr. Gero Heutter, who was treating Brown, decided to see if the transplant could cure Brown’s HIV too. And, it did. Though Brown’s leukemia persisted after the 2007 surgery, so Brown and Heutter went forward with the 2008 surgery. Thankfully, that second attempt worked… until the cancer later returned and killed him.
After hearing the news, AIDS activist Peter Staley shared a statement on Facebook about his late friend Timothy Ray Brown. Staley also offered his condolences to Brown’s partner Tim Hoeffgen.
“Timothy became our smiling example of hope for a cure. A heavy responsibility which he never shied away from. He was a rascal too. I bumped into him in the back rooms of the no-pants party in Amsterdam two years ago, and laughed with joy when he told me he was on PrEP. “It wouldn’t be cool if the only guy cured from AIDS got it a second time,” he said, with a huge smile.
When the cure finally comes, let’s all have a communal toast to this amazing man.”
Source: The Associated Press,