XMRV Buzz March 17th, 2011 – ‘Fighting for a Cause’ / Cooperative Diagnostics Interview

Posted by Cort Johnson

Website Down (Again…sigh) – The website has been down for at least a week but hopefully we’re back up for good and in a new format. The website will changing quite a bit over time as we slowly create a new version of Phoenix Rising.

Fighting for A Cause

Dr. Mikovits and the search for XMRV was featured in a long article in Nature magazine “Fighting for A Cause”. As the article works through the now rather complex history of XMRV it notes the fervent enthusiasm XMRV has evoked in the CFS community and Dr. Mikovits sincere commitment to them. It notes the contamination worries and Dr. Mikovits firm stand that they do not apply to the WPI’s results.

A significant problem for XMRV is the lack of variability found in the human samples and their close resemblance to those found in the 22RV1 cell line. In the article Dr. Mikovits reports, for the first time, I believe that they  can demonstrate more variability in XMRV and have sequenced more strains but have not been able to publish that data. The article states “She says that her team has also collected viral sequences that will address Towers’s and Kellam’s criticism but that it hasn’t yet been able to publish them.”

It’ll be important to get this data published and, if its not published, to know why it hasn’t been. Hue’s genetic analysis perhaps referenced two dozen or so strains of XMRV from prostate samples, the 22RV1 line and CFS patients -which suggests that just five or ten more fully sequenced strains should be enough, if they were variable enough, to overturn Hue’s claim that XMRV in CFS must be derived from the 22RV1 cell line.

Levy study –  the big news, though, was the report that Dr. Jay Levy, a renowned HIV retrovirologist in San Francisco, who looked for pathogens in CFS over 20 years ago, is, in collaboration with Dr. Peterson, back on the case doing a replication of the WPI’s culture study (finally!) which should be out sooner than later.  With his hundreds of studies, Dr. Levy brings a stellar reputation to the search for XMRV, and if he finds it that would be a huge boost to the field.

The article did state that Dr. Peterson left the WPI over ‘personal’ reasons; some sort of personal conflict with Dr. Mikovits, apparently, and cited her unwillingness to collaborate and share results with him. We did not hear from her or the WPI on that issue.

Dr. Silverman is reported to have his ‘confidence rattled’, whatever that means, by the recent work questioning whether XMRV is integrated into human DNA. The fault line between Dr. Mikovits and her critics in the research community was exposed by how each are interpreting the findings that have come out. The article states she believes that disbelief and prejudice against CFS and ‘politics’ are driving the criticisms of her work while her critics state they don’t disbelieve CFS or that it could caused by a pathogen but that this is all part of a ‘normal scientific debate’.

It’s quite a long article with quite a few sides to it. Depending on how you feel at this point you may either feel neutral, upset or relatively happy with it.  Check it out here.

On the PCR side

features a long interview with a PCR expert, Dr. Satterfield of Cooperative Diagnositics, a lab which has done several XMRV studies –  all of which, unfortunately, turned out to be negative. Dr. Satterfield talks why he believes PCR and antibody testing is the way to go with XMRV, what he thinks of the need for using a ‘wild-type’ virus, what kinds of replication studies have and have not been done thus far, the contamination question, where he thinks XMRV stands right now, and his personal relationship with chronic fatigue syndrome. Check it out here

Norway is getting very interesting……

There’s the Rituximab study which is showing surprisingly positive effects in some ME/CFS patients and now this announcement that the Lillestrom Health Clinic, in collaboration with Dr. Mikovits, is (actually has been) looking  for MLV’s in severely  disabled patients with the idea that those same B-cells that Rituximab is effecting (and in which EBV, of course, hangs out) may be the tissue reservoir for XMRV.  The samples will be analyzed both in Italy and in the US at the WPI. This study started in Oct 2010 and is slated to end in just a month or so –  in April – so we may hear about it soon.  Check it out here. Thanks to Ann for passing this on.

Dr. Mikovits birthday

is April 1st. If you’d like to send a Happy Birthday care the WPI’s research center might be the place to do that. Their address is University of Nevada, Reno MS 0553, 1664 N. Virginia St., Reno, NV 89557-0553. Thanks to Marcia for the tip.

Nice New Website

While I’m here check out the nice sleek and very informative looking Canadian website by the National FM/ME Action Network –  good job!


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