XMRV Buzz: WPI Finally Gets Its XMRV Grant? / Dr. Mikovits in Belfast / Dr. Bell in Mass (5/26)

May 26, 2011

Posted by Cort Johnson

In the year and a half since the WPI’s Science XMRV paper they have received no grants from the federal government to study XMRV, despite several attempts to procure funding.  A Gulf War news site (91Outcomes.com) reported back in March that the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) recommended funding 12 new studies, two of which were on XMRV and one of which (gasp) was produced by the Whittemore Peterson Institute.

The WPI study (Detection of XMRV in Gulf War Illness: Role in Pathogenesis or Biomarker?) will, if it is funded, look for XMRV in GW Illness and determine if it plays a role in that illness or is a biomarker. The  other study by Yale University will determine if there’s an association between XMRV and GWI.

(Note that these were recommendations and do not necessarily confer funding.)

Thanks to Pat Fero for providing this information

Dr. Mikovits Talks in Belfast

Dr. Mikovits began her presentation on XMRV to a standing ovation. (Want to know what ME/CFS in Ireland looks like? Check out the really good slides  http://niceguidelines.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/the-mikovits-event-in-belfast-yesterday-was-sensational.pdf). Dr. Mikovits recent study on an immune signature in XMRV positive people with ME/CFS was remarkable for the strength  of the immune response she found.

Now in Belfast she presented a slide which indicated that AZT and Raltegavir in one patient reduced the levels of many of the upregulated cytokines and dramatically smashed one of them; this extinguished cytokine had been hurtling upwards like a rocket only to just as dramatically plummet to the earth.

One patient, of course, means little in research but a group of patients demonstrating a similar response would, one would think, raise some eyebrows.  The immune signature paper was startling in the degree of cytokine upregulation it found – never, to my knowledge, has anything approaching that degree of cytokine upregulation been seen in ME/CFS.

The ultimate relevance of the paper, of course, will depend on whether XMRV can be validated in ME/CFS. Several studies are reportedly coming up including the Levy study and possibly the Joliceur study. The CAA/GSK study is still out as is the NCI study, and, of course there are the big BWG and Lipkin studies. They will determine whether this paper is  a side note in history or the start of something exciting.

Dr. Bell Talks  – A Bit – on XMRV in Mass - Billed as an update on the latest XMRV research, Dr. Bell, a staunch XMRV supporter, simply didn’t talk about it much at the April Mass CFIDS meeting - stating that the researchers would figure it out. He did say that Maureen Hanson, who was there (and had found pMLV’s in her study, tested for contamination (again?) and did not find it.  A patient reported that she was trying to sequence what she find (possibly to determine if it was integrated into human DNA (?). Dr’s Alter/Lo have been doing the same thing unsuccessfully to this point).

He did say that if XMRV was infective it was probably infective  only in the first 6 weeks (months? – reports varied) and that he felt it was alright for people with ME/CFS to mingle that bodily fluids to their hearts content. Dr. Bell, of course, has been following a cohort of patients for over decades and would have some experience with the infectiousness of CFS.

You can find a summary of the talk on a superb fibro blog here – http://confessionsfromthefibrofog.blogspot.com/ (Go down to the April blogs).

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Sue Jackson May 26, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Thanks for the update, Cort. Dr. Bell holds a special place in our hearts!

Sue

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