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Historic Cord Blood Transplant Could Cure HIV/AIDS

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- What happened at the Amplatz Children's Hospital on Tuesday could be a breakthrough treatment that will change the course of medicine.

A team of local doctors attempted to, in a matter of minutes, cure a 12-year-old boy with HIV and leukemia.

A similar procedure had cured a grown man of AIDS and leukemia. But the one they tried Tuesday is much simpler. It involved 3 ounces of umbilical cord blood and took 30 minutes, and it could be revolutionary.

Though the family doesn't want the boy's face shown, the following is his story.

He was born with HIV and later got leukemia, and now he's got hope.

"What we expect to happen is we hope to cure not only his leukemia but also his HIV -- that's really our goal," Dr. Michael Verneris of the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital said.

Only one man has been cured, and he's since become an advocate.

Timothy Ray Brown of Las Vegas got a rare bone marrow transplant that cured him of leukemia and HIV back in 2007.

Dr. Verneris and Dr. John Wagner say they've wanted to try it for years and just found the perfect patient.

And it seems patient No. 2 is in good company as Brown gave him a call, and wished him the best of luck, adding that he hopes the two can stand together saying "we have a cure."

The boy's family wants to stay anonymous at least until they see if it works.

"This is the beginning of a new chance for me to have a healthier kid," the mother said in a statement. "I am thankful for the University of Minnesota giving him the chance to live."

There are still some major risks in his recovery, but we should know within in the next 100 days if he's been cured.

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