Wistar Institute

“The London Patient” Adam Castillejo Speaks at William Way Community Center to Spread Hope for a Future HIV  Cure

Castillejo became the second person known to be cured of HIV infection after receiving a bone marrow transplant to treat Hodgkin's lymphoma.
20-Oct-2022 2:05 PM EDT, by Wistar Institute

Newswise — PHILADELPHIA—(October 20, 2022)—William Way Community Center, Philadelphia FIGHT, BEAT-HIV Delaney Collaboratory, Philadelphia Foundation, The Penn Center for AIDS Research, and The Wistar Institute are proud to announce that “The London Patient” Adam Castillejo will take part in a reception, followed by a panel conversation and Q&A on Wednesday, October 26 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the William Way Community Center. 

Castillejo is the second person known to be cured of HIV when his body became resistant to HIV infection after receiving a bone marrow transplant. In his case the transplant was to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Timothy Ray Brown, known as the “Berlin Patient”, was the first person cured of HIV with a stem cell transplant, similar to Castillejo. Brown died in 2020 from a recurrence of cancer, and Castillejo revealed his identity that year so he could be an “Ambassador of Hope” to inspire others living with HIV

Castillejo is a British-Venezuelan man who has resided in London since 2000. In 2003, he was diagnosed with HIV. From that point forward he chose a life of health—exercising, eating well, and becoming a head chef. In 2011, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lymphoma. After intense monitoring, many ups and downs in treatments, and much intensive preparation, Castillejo received the stem cell transplant that cured him of HIV in London in 2016. After this treatment, his body became resistant to HIV infection, and he subsequently stopped HIV medication in 2017. Since 2020, he has been an international champion of HIV research. His presentation in Philadelphia is the last stop on his international tour before returning to his home in London, United Kingdom.

“Over 30 years ago when the AIDS pandemic started, many of us thought we wouldn’t live to see this day— hearing from a cured person. But here we are.” said William B. Carter, BEAT-HIV Delaney Collaboratory Community Advisory Board Chairperson. “Sharing Mr. Castillejo’s story shows the importance of researchers working together with the community to develop a cure.”

“Adam is a pillar of strength and inspiration and stands as a testament to what HIV cure research can do. In sharing his story, he is amplifying attention to this critical need in biomedicine as well as emphasizing the impact science can have,” said Luis J. Montaner, D.V.M., D.Phil., Herbert Kean, M.D., Family Professor, leader of the HIV Research Program at The Wistar Institute, and co-principal investigator of the BEAT-HIV Delaney Collaboratory. “Adam represents and advocates for what we are all working towards, a cure for HIV within our lifetime.”

To register for event: https://redcap.med.upenn.edu/surveys/?s=FXW4TWKFRLJAKXLK  

Editor’s Note: For more information or to cover the event, contact Darien Sutton at 215-870-2048 or [email protected].

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The Wistar Institute, the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the United States, marshals the talents of an international team of outstanding scientists through a highly-enabled culture of biomedical collaboration and innovation, to solve some of the world’s most challenging and important problems in the field of cancer, immunology, and infectious diseases, and produce groundbreaking advances in world health. Consistent with a pioneering legacy of leadership in not-for-profit biomedical research and a track record of life-saving contributions in immunology and cell biology, Wistar scientists pursue novel and courageous research paths to life science discovery, and to accelerate the impact of early-stage discoveries by shortening the path from bench to bedside. Wistar.org

BEAT-HIV Delaney Collaboratory is part of an international consortium of more than 80 top HIV researchers from academia, industry, government, and nonprofit sectors working toward an HIV cure. The Collaboratory is leading three advanced trials to define effective ways to combine immunotherapy regimes towards a cure. BEAT-HIV.org

Philadelphia FIGHT is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) offering HIV treatment and primary care to people living with HIV/AIDS and those at high risk, as well as community education and outreach programs on HIV, Hepatitis, and other topics impacting public health.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, FIGHT has provided no barrier, walk-up COVID testing to over 13,000 people in low income neighborhoods of Philadelphia, and partnered with ten community based organizations to bring COVID vaccines to these communities.

Philadelphia Foundation, founded in 1918, strengthens the economic, social and civic vitality of Greater Philadelphia. It grows effective philanthropic investment, connects individuals and institutions across sectors and geography, and advances civic initiatives through partnerships and collaboration. A publicly supported foundation, the Philadelphia Foundation manages more than 1,000 charitable funds established by its donors and makes over 1,000 grants and scholarship awards each year. To learn more visit www.philafound.org.

William Way Community Center seeks to engage and support the diverse LGBTQIA+ communities in the greater Philadelphia area through arts & culture, empowerment, and community connections. The Center wants all LGBTQIA+ people to feel safe, connected, and empowered. We strive to be a community center whose staff, management, and board reflect the vibrant and richly diverse communities we serve. In these challenging times, the William Way LGBT Community Center, and what it represents, has evolved to meet the needs of the diverse people it serves. 

The Penn Center for AIDS Research (Penn CFAR) is one of 18 NIH-funded CFARs and includes HIV and AIDS investigators at the University of Pennsylvania, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and the Wistar Institute. The mission is to support and advance research in all areas of HIV/AIDS on the Penn/CHOP/Wistar campus through campus, regional and national leadership; catalyzing collaborative research through working groups, outreach and strategic planning; education through seminars, courses and workshops; developing new HIV/AIDS investigators and research programs through pilot funding, mentorship, and partnership programs; and research support through innovative shared resource Cores that offer unique services, materials, technical education and assistance, and collaborative support.  

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