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Cured: How the Berlin Patients Defeated HIV and Forever Changed Medical Science [Kindle Edition]

Nathalia Holt
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $27.95
Kindle Price: $11.99
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Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

Is the end of HIV upon us? Award-winning research scientist and HIV fellow at the Ragon Institute, Nathalia Holt, reveals the science behind the discovery of a functional cure and what it means for the millions affected by HIV and the history of the AIDS pandemic.

Two men, known in medical journals as the Berlin Patients, revealed answers to a functional cure for HIV. Their cures came twelve years apart, the first in 1996 and the second in 2008. Each received his own very different treatment in Berlin, Germany, and each result spurred a new field of investigation, fueling innovative lines of research and sparking hope for the thirty-four million people currently infected with HIV. For the first time, Nathalia Holt, who has participated in some of the most fruitful research in the field, tells the story of how we came to arrive at this astounding and controversial turning point.

Holt explores the two men’s stories on a personal level, looking at how their experiences have influenced HIV researchers worldwide—including one very special young family doctor who took the time to look closely at his patients—and how they responded to their medications.

Based on extensive interviews with the patients and their doctors as well as her own in-depth research, this book is an unprecedented look at how scientists pursue their inquiries, the human impact their research has, and what is and is not working in the relationship between Big Pharma and medical care.

Editorial Reviews


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

About the Author

Nathalia Holt is an award-winning research scientist specializing in HIV biology. Her research has led to major developments in the HIV gene therapy field.  She has trained at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard University, the University of Southern California and Tulane University. She lives with her husband and their daughter in Boston, Massachusetts.

Product Details

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting, highly unusual! March 3, 2014
Cured is a remarkable book about quite incredible science....and a pretty good story to boot. Natalia Holt has done some very good research here. One of the things, perhaps the most interesting, that she's found is that the best work, the most creative, most daring, most cutting edge work on HIV (and a host of other diseases, too) is not being done by the big corporations, the big pharma companies.
Just the opposite is at work, the innovative research is being done mostly by small biotech companies, such as Sangamo Biotech, in Richmond, California. They are using something called ZFNs, zinc finger nuclease. As I understand it there were some small villages in Europe where over many years, whenever the Black Plague or similar terrible things struck, killing off millions of people, the people from these small towns were spared, they didn't get sick.
Something in their makeup was protecting them, and over the years scientists studied these people in these villages, looking for what it was that made them different, that protected them. One of the things they found was a small finger-shaped growth on blood cells, one that was high in zinc, and thus the name ZFNs, zinc finger nuclease's. Sangamo has been working on refining this ZFN technique for a couple of decades now, and suddenly they're starting to make it work! Quite exciting stuff really, that could indeed change modern medicine.
Cured should be read's a fine book, clearly written; difficult science explained in a clean, clear easy to understand way. An important book, highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kudos for Dr. Holt March 17, 2014
By HeyJT
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is so well written that I felt compelled to read it in 48 hours.
The book is clear and concise, and perfectly understandable to the layman.
I have been reading on this topic daily and this is the first I heard of the "berlin patient", cured by early intervention.
Nathalia brings each patient to life and shows how hard this disease makes their lives.
Hats off to all the scientists and doctors mentioned.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Kelvin
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is actually my first amazon review, this book is so good that I decided to write my first (I am only 1/3 into the book). As a science student, I am able to understand most of what Dr. Holt is talking about. She presented the history and anecdotes in a casual story-telling manner. For layman who has no background knowledge in biology, she added illustrations and tried to use analogy to explain the biological mechanism.

This is a great book for anyone who wants to understand the history and science of HIV/AIDS.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cutting edge! March 4, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great book on the latest research, written with a human touch. Just got my copy today, & immediately read the first 5 chapters. Captivating!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting ! March 4, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Finally something new in the field of HIV/AIDS. The most up-to-date book we have today. Dr. Hold has done a great job of presenting patients' and researchers' stories without being judgmental in anyway. This is exciting stuff.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting medical story July 21, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very interesting story about how two patients have been cleared of HIV thanks to the extraordinary efforts of dedicated doctors.
I became distracted two-thirds of the way through and have not yet finished it, but I will come back to it because I love books about science written for the ordinary lay reader. This has not yet translated into a cure for all AIDS/HIV patients, but it sounds a hopeful note.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Some fascinating history... June 24, 2014
By Molly
This is a lively account of the two Berlin patients whose cases were central to emerging treatments of HIV. (Till I read it, I was only aware of one "Berlin patient.") It puts human faces on these discoveries and on the dedicated doctors/researchers who worked with the patients. Most famously, one of the patients, who also had leukemia, received a bone marrow transplant from someone who lacked a certain cell receptor which made him resistant to HIV. So far, the "Berlin patient" has undetectable levels of virus- almost a "cure." The science is well explained. The stories of the two men are interspersed and move back and forth in time, which made it a bit hard to follow.
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