A California man is cured of leukemia and (almost) HIV after a revolutionary treatment

A California man is cured of leukemia and in remission of HIV — two life-threatening conditions — after undergoing a revolutionary stem cell treatment, his doctors said.

Paul Edmonds, 68, is the fifth known person in the world to achieve remission from acute myelogenous leukemia and HIV, according to a statement from City of Hope, the cancer hospital that treats him.

Being in remission of a disease means the decrease or disappearance of its signs and symptoms.

(They call it the ‘cancer-killing pill’ and it is “an immense desire” for those who face cancer)

Edmonds, who the clinic said is “extremely grateful” for his treatment, contracted leukemia in 2018, three decades after being diagnosed with HIV.

After years of unsuccessful treatments, Edmonds said he underwent “remarkable and encouraging” therapy with stem cells from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that causes resistance to acquiring HIV in those who have it.

Paul Edmonds (left) and his husband, Arnold House.City of Hope

Edmonds’ story of resistance had been cited before in scientific journals and in the press, but it was not until 2023 that the man emerged from anonymity.

City of Hope Hospital said its history shows that older adults with leukemia who undergo reduced-intensity chemotherapy and then obtain a stem cell transplant from HIV-resistant donors have hope of achieving remission.

“It is possible to achieve HIV remission even at an advanced age and after living with him for many years”said Jana Dickter, clinical professor in the division of infectious diseases at City of Hope.

For Dickter, “as people with HIV continue to live longer, “There will be more opportunities for personalized treatments for leukemia.”

“Hope for people with HIV”

Paul Edmonds, a man, claimed he was sentenced to death when he was diagnosed with HIV in 1988.

He later said he was frustrated with antiretroviral therapy — a combination of drugs that prevents HIV from reproducing — because, although it reduced the levels of the virus to almost undetectable, it could not completely get rid of it.

Everything changed when he contracted acute myelogenous leukemia. Edmonds agreed in 2019 to undergo treatment with donated stem cells, which carry a genetic mutation that resists HIV.

No more than 2% of people have this mutation, ScienceAlert stated in a publication about the case, which is why doctors consider Edmonds lucky to find a compatible donor.

Since then, doctors say Edmonds has shown no signs of either condition.

Specialists consider him cured of leukemia because more than five years have passed without undergoing treatment for the disease.

(Cancer is receding in the US, but the number of people with the disease will still exceed 2 million this year)

Edmonds said he hopes his experience “gives hope to people with HIV” and paid tribute to all those who have died from the disease.

“Many doctors, scientists, nurses, supportive care professionals and others at City of Hope made it possible for me to be cured of leukemia and in remission from HIV. “I have no words to thank you,” she said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated in 2022 that more than 39 million people were living with HIV worldwide.