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Mary Pat Higley Comments on "Berlin Patient" and Potential for HIV Cure


The first man who claims to have been cured of HIV recently spoke out about his experiences. Mary Pat Higley commented on this potentially groundbreaking study.

Newport Beach, California (PRWEB) October 29, 2012

A recent Fox News article profiled American Timothy Ray Brown, a patient whom some believe it the first person to be cured from HIV. Nicknamed the “Berlin Patient” after receiving treatment in Germany, both Brown and his doctor, Gero Hutter, spoke about his treatment at a symposium on gene therapy. Presented by the Biologic Therapeutics Center at Washington University in St. Louis, notable speakers discussed the use of gene therapy as a treatment for diseases such as cancer and hemophilia. The news story caught the attention of professional Mary Pat Higley, PharmD, MBA.

According to the article, Brown received his HIV diagnosis in 1995. Eleven years later in 2006, he was diagnosed with leukemia. At the time, he lived in Germany where Hutter was performing stem cell transplants. The particular stem cells in use possessed a unique gene mutation that naturally resists HIV, the article notes.

In a statement to the press, Mary Pat Higley commented on the potential of gene therapy: “If in fact the patient was cured of HIV through the use of stem cells, it demonstrates the potential of developing methods to treat HIV through gene therapy. If the gene that conferred resistance can be isolated, methods can be developed to insert the gene into the cells of other infected patients. Gene therapy is being tried in many other diseases, so the methods of gene transfer are already
being developed. This cure would have a dramatic effect on the cost of HIV treatment because it would eliminate the need to take drugs for the lifetime of the patient.”

Today, the news story posits Hutter believes the resistance found in the stem cells has transferred to Brown. Brown notes he has not taken HIV medication since shortly after he received the transplant in 2007. Both Brown and Hutter are convinced of the cure given the five-year time frame for which he has not taken medication. The article explains this same time frame is used when indicating a cancer patient is fully cured.

The article notes a number of physicians are not convinced Brown is indeed cured. His case was documented in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2009. Today, researchers continue to study gene therapy as a viable option for the treatment of HIV.


Mary Pat Higley is a dedicated professional who has built a successful career within the healthcare industry. With over 20 years of experience, Mary Pat Higley has developed a professional acumen that encompasses clinical research project management, technical sales and marketing. Her robust scientific knowledge and business experience lends her a unique insight into these roles. Mary Pat Higley is committed to improving patient care and contributing to the progression of national health.

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