EpiStem: Allogeneic stem cell transplant in HIV-1-infected individuals



The first case of an HIV cure occurred in the Berlin patient, who received a stem cells transplant in Germany to treat his cancer, using cells with the CCR5 delta-32 mutation, a rare genetic mutation which conferred him resistance to HIV infection, as a way to treat and ultimately cure his HIV infection. Many researchers around the world have tried, so far unsuccessfully, to duplicate this case to test which were the crucial components of the intervention – the chemotherapy, total body irradiation, genetic mutation present in the transplanted cells, and/or the graft-versus-host disease that ensued. Because the genetic mutation is most common in Europe, and because various donor screening procedures can be carried out more easily in Europe than in the United States, Drs. Martinez-Picado and Wensing, together with other European colleagues, have established a consortium of European researchers who anticipate having several HIV patients in need of stem cell transplants. They aim to try to replicate the experience of the Berlin patient, and to study differences in the HIV outcomes of patients who undergo similar versus different stem cell transplant procedures. This unique consortium presents an opportunity to learn exactly how the cure was achieved in the Berlin patient, and to use this knowledge to build interventions that could be applied more widely.

amfAR Research Consortium on HIV Eradication (ARCHE)

This project has been given the largest award in this year's round of grants of the amfAR Research Consortium on HIV Eradication (ARCHE). This program is an initiative launched in 2010 to explore potential strategies for eliminating HIV infection. The new grants, totaling nearly $2.4 million, will support the work of seven teams of scientists worlwide. amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. 

Funding: $591,209

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POTENTITAL CANDIDATES: Researchers are still recruiting candidates for the interventions. Candidates must be HIV positive in the need of an allogenic transplantations due to an hematological disease. Please, write the consortium ( if you have potential candidates for this study. Please, share this information with your colleagues and help researchers to find more candidates and make advances in HIV research and eradication. 



  • Javier Martinez-Picado, Ph.D. – principal investigator. IrsiCaixa, Badalona, Spain
  • Annemarie Wensing, M.D., Ph.D. – principal investigator. University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Monique Nijhuis, Ph.D. – collaborating investigator. University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Jan van Lunzen, M.D., Ph.D. – collaborating investigator. University Medical Center Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  • Rafael Duarte, M.D., Ph.D. – collaborating investigator. Catalan Institute of Oncology, Barcelona, Spain
  • Jurgen Kuball, M.D., Ph.D. – collaborating investigator. University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Jose Luis Diez Martin, M.D., Ph.D. – collaborating investigator. Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón, Madrid, Spain
  • Vanderson Rocha, M.D., Ph.D. – collaborating investigator. Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Gero Hütter, M.D.– collaborating investigator. collaborating investigator, Cellex GmbH, Dresden, Germany

Related news

IrsiCaixa leads an international research consortium to reproduce the only successful case of a person cured of HIV Read article


Date: 01/07/2014

Duration: : 07-2014/06-2015

Financing entity: amfAR Research Consortium on HIV Eradication (ARCHE) | amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

Coordinating entity: Institute for AIDS Research IrsiCaixa and the University Medical Center Utrecht

Research Supervisor(s): Javier Martínez-Picado

IrsiCaixa linked groups: Retrovirology and Clinical Studies (GREC)