Cured: How the Berlin Patients Defeated HIV and Forever Changed Medical Science

Cured: How the Berlin Patients Defeated HIV and Forever Changed Medical Science

by Nathalia Holt
     
 

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“Nathalia Holt presents a thorough account of the research that provides scientists with hope that a cure will one day be achievable... and her empathy shines through in her prose. This is as important a social history as it is a medical document.”—The Daily Beast
 
Two patients—each known in medical history as the Berlin

Overview

“Nathalia Holt presents a thorough account of the research that provides scientists with hope that a cure will one day be achievable... and her empathy shines through in her prose. This is as important a social history as it is a medical document.”—The Daily Beast
 
Two patients—each known in medical history as the Berlin Patient—were cured of the HIV virus. The two patients’ disparate cures came twelve years apart, but Nathalia Holt, an award-winning scientist at the forefront of HIV research, connects the molecular dots of these cases for the first time.
 
Scientists are known to maintain a professional distance from those they study, but sometimes scientists are not just investigators, they are caregivers, too. Cured illustrates that even in the era of high-tech and big pharma, the way doctors and patients communicate remains a critical ingredient in the advance of this science. Holt offers a kind of hope that the thirty-four million people currently infected with HIV need and a story of ingenuity, dedication, and humanity that will inspire the rest of us.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/04/2013
HIV researcher Holt relates how two HIV-positive men together upended the treatment for the virus that causes AIDS, and helped save countless lives. The two “Berlin patients,” as they became anonymously known in medical literature—German-born Christian Hahn and American Timothy Brown—never knew each other. But in this accessible and fascinating account, Holt, a research scientist trained at MIT and Harvard, juggles genetic mysteries, research perils, the agonies of these two reserved and sensitive men diagnosed with what was considered a death sentence, and the dogged doctors who successfully treated them during the later stages of AIDS epidemic—Hahn, in 1996, with early drug therapy and an experimental cancer drug, and Brown, in 2008, with a stem-cell transplant. Holt’s narrative brings to light the remarkable early breakthroughs in treating a once fatal condition, but for the Berlin patients, “it wasn’t a cure that anyone would want.” By themselves, Holt notes, “the Berlin patient cases were anomalies... invitations to fulfill... the promise that HIV can be cured.” Their stories, however, are not just memorable for HIV patients, doctors and scientists, but for a society that believes in the importance of their struggles and hopes for their success. Agent: Laurie Abkemeier, DeFiore and Company. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
Praise for Cured

"In this accessible and fascinating account, Holt, a research scientist trained at MIT and Harvard...brings to light the remarkable early breakthroughs in treating a once fatal condition." - Publishers Weekly

"A fascinating discourse on how medical science is zeroing in on an HIV vaccine after several anomalous triumphs...An astute AIDS retrospective blended with contemporary updates on aggressive medical strategies." - Kirkus Reviews

“In this exquisitely detailed telling of medicine's desperate fight to control the HIV epidemic, author Nathalia Holt reminds us that all the best medical stories are foremost stories of people - their determination, their courage, and their ability, in the best of circumstances, to rewrite history in a way that protects us all.”—Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner's Handbook

“I am eagerly anticipating Nathalia Holt’s telling of the Berlin Patients and the implications of their apparent cure from HIV infection.”
—David Baltimore, Nobel Laureate for Medicine, professor of Biology, and former president, California Institute of Technology

Library Journal
09/15/2013
In a book bound to stir hope, interest, and debate, Holt, a research scientist specializing in HIV biology, discusses the science behind what appears to be a functional cure of HIV. At its heart: two men known as the Berlin Patients successfully treated in the German capital in 1996 and in 2002.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-09
A fascinating discourse on how medical science is zeroing in on an HIV vaccine after several anomalous triumphs. With the AIDS epidemic now in its fourth decade, award-winning HIV research scientist Holt believes "we are only just beginning to understand our shared evolution with viruses." Still, she offers increasing hope for a cure by spotlighting the two male "Berlin Patients" and several others, including a child, who chemically bombarded and expunged the HIV virus from their bodies. The author tracks the enduring histories of these men—German-born Christian Hahn and Timothy Brown, an American—from the detection of their initial viral prodromes to the astonishing depletion of HIV-infected cells from their bodies, prompting clinical trials and controversial research. Holt also profiles HIV specialists Heiko Jessen, Bruce Walker and David Ho as part of a frustrated yet galvanized group of professionals working toward developing new therapies to either counterbalance HIV's onslaught on a vulnerable immune system or, ideally, discover a way to have the virus coexist with its human host. The author includes research that field experts consider "pertinent and exciting," and the result makes for educative, thought-provoking and frequently alarming reading. Textbook descriptions on the intricacies of HIV's tactical viral transmission commingle with a timeline spanning from an era when a seropositive test result equaled a sure death sentence. The author also examines controversial trials of AZT drug therapies, stem cell transplants, and the genetic suppression and inexplicable eradication of the virus from a fortunate few. Holt further supports her subject with graphic illustrations and a well-balanced assortment of interviews and opinions from doctors, genetic scientists and informed researchers, all unified in the global battle to find a cure. An astute AIDS retrospective blended with contemporary updates on aggressive medical strategies.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780698148543
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/27/2014
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
371,718
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

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From the Publisher
“I am eagerly anticipating Nathalia Holt’s telling of the Berlin Patients and the implications of their apparent cure from HIV infection.”
—David Baltimore, Nobel Laureate for Medicine, professor of Biology, and former president, California Institute of Technology

Meet the Author

Nathalia Holt trained at Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT, Harvard University, the University of Southern California, and Tulane University. She lives with her family in Boston.

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