European Project to guide and investigate the potential for HIV cure by Stem Cell Transplantation

EPISTEM is a collaborative project to guide and investigate the potential for HIV cure in HIV-infected patients requiring allogeneic stem cell transplantation for hematological disorders.

The EPISTEM consortium is composed of an expert European review panel of hematologists with experience in allogeneic SCT procedures along with infectious disease specialists, virologist and immunologists with expertise in the field of HIV-1 tropism, reservoirs and cure.

We prospectively study allogeneic SCT recipients with HIV-1 infection, collecting complete information on underlying malignancy, chemotherapy, transplant procedure, donor selection, HIV-tropism, cART, and virological and immunological characteristics of a variety of samples before and after the transplant.


Funded by the amfAR Research Consortium on HIV Eradication (ARCHE)

NEW YORK, Oct. 22, 2015 --- amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, on Thursday announced a new round of research grants totaling more than $1.4 million. The vast majority of the funding will support cure-focused research projects.

Renewal funding of $850,000 will go to a consortium of European researchers that aims to replicate the case of the “Berlin patient,” the first and only person known to have been cured of HIV. Diagnosed with leukemia, the patient was given a stem cell transplant with a twist: The cells he received were taken from a donor with a rare genetic mutation conferring resistance to HIV infection. He remains virus-free.

Working within the amfAR Research Consortium on HIV Eradication (ARCHE), a research program launched in 2010 to explore potential strategies for eliminating HIV, the scientists will study the outcomes of HIV patients who undergo different types of stem cell transplants. Led by Javier Martinez-Picado, Ph.D., of IrsiCaixa in Spain and Annemarie Wensing, M.D., Ph.D., of University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, the consortium has already identified a group of patients who have undergone transplants, and continues to monitor their progress in the hope of generating new knowledge that can inform more widely applicable interventions. 


The EPISTEM project is supported by AmfAR Research Consortium on HIV eradication (ARCHE) Research Grant # 109293-59-RGRL