- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The man believed to be the only patient completely cured of the AIDS virus said Tuesday he is creating the world’s first AIDS foundation devoted exclusively to finding a cure for the disease.

With David Purdy, CEO of the World AIDS Institute at his side, Timothy Ray Brown of San Francisco, known in medical circles as the “Berlin Patient,” announced the Timothy Ray Brown Foundation in conjunction with the biennial International AIDS Conference being held in Washington this week.

In his first American press conference, Mr. Brown told reporters he was living proof that a cure to the disease is possible. “Proof is alive and hope is on the horizon,” said Mr. Brown as he addressed a packed room at the Westin City Center.

“We must not settle. We cannot be complacent. We must take action. We will fight every day until a cure is found for everyone,” he added.

Mr. Brown, now 46, was diagnosed as HIV-positive 18 years ago and immediately began antiretroviral treatment.

Complicating his case, Mr. Brown was then diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2006. However, it was this diagnosis that made his cure a possibility. His physician, German hematologist Gero Hutter, introduced Mr. Brown to a revolutionary treatment that appears to have cured both his HIV and leukemia.

Dr. Hutter gave Mr. Brown a stem-cell bone-marrow transplant from a donor who had a natural immunity to the HIV virus called a CCR5 mutation, which is found in less than 1 percent of Northern Europe’s population.
After receiving the transplant, Mr. Brown was found to have no active HIV virus cells in his body.

This “miracle patient,” as some have called Mr. Brown, has come under scrutiny as scientists question whether the HIV virus is still detectable in his body and if it is still infectious to others.

Mr. Brown hit back at scientific reports doubting that he is cured.

“There is undoubtedly a certain amount of skepticism, but that is the way science progresses,” Mr. Brown said.

“I am HIV-negative. I am cured of the AIDS virus,” he added, with emphasis.

The foundation will offer grants to scientists and researchers who specialize in innovative therapies and treatments in the race to find a cure to the AIDS epidemic.