WCPO: After 35 years of surviving HIV and AIDS, Carl Fox is part of a study he believes will find a cure

Fox is part of UC's Trailblazer study

Carl Fox of Northern Kentucky found out he was HIV positive in 1985. After decades of living with the virus and watching the deaths of hundreds of friends, he joined a federally funded study and is allowing WCPO-TV to tell his story.

A doctor wearing a white lab coat looking at a folder while standing in a research lab

Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the UC Division of Infectious Diseases. Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand

The TRAILBLAZER study, as it’s called, aims to change the parts of a patient’s white blood cells that HIV latches onto, says Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine.

Fichtenbaum is a principal investigator on the study and has been Fox’s doctor for years.

“The idea behind this study that we’re doing is to take a person’s cells from their white blood cells that harbor that receptor, take it in the laboratory, remove the receptor through genetic engineering and then infuse those cells back into the person,” he tells WCPO.

“Our hope in the future is that perhaps if we were to do this often enough, and change enough cells in the body, that people who have HIV may be able to control the HIV, even without any medication,” Fichtenbaum says. “And it may be the first steps or ideas to really trying to cure people.”

See the full WCPO study here and read more about the TRAILBLAZER study here.

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