Dr Katz’s Webinar
Yesterday, Dr Katz presented a webinar on XMRV and blood safety. A YouTube video of his webinar (lasting over 74minutes) can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ex6iS_2RqiY
Dr Katz described the current scientific paradigm regarding XMRV and CFS as evenly poised. He made the analogy of the set of negative XMRV studies weighing the same on a set of scales as the original WPI study. He then alluded to the FDA/NIH XMRV study which is expected to show XMRV in a high percentage of CFS patients. He said that if this study is released linking CFS to XMRV then it will tip the scales heavily in the favour of the XMRV and CFS link. He said the FDA/NIH study would be comparable to placing an elephant on the currently evenly balanced scales. Dr Katz predicted that it would take a year for a clinical XMRV assay to be available for diagnostics.
Annette and Andrea on Nevada Newsmakers
Yesterday, Annette Whittemore and Andrea Whittemore-Goad appeared on Nevada Newsmakers. They discussed XMRV and the opening of the WPI.
The interview is available for viewing on YouTube in two parts.
Part 1 is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQJ60UdWz0c
Both Annette and Andrea sounded very optimistic about the link between XMRV and CFS and referred to XMRV as a “biomarker.” Andrea mentioned that she has recently been seeing an infectious disease specialist and her condition has correspondingly improved. Annette and Andrea also mentioned having the results of a small trial. Some people on various forums have speculated that they were referring to a treatment trial.
Dr Mikovits and a Newspaper Article
Perhaps the most exciting news of the past few days was the information that Dr Mikovits revealed in an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal (RGJ). The article can be found here: http://www.rgj.com/article/20100816/NEWS/100816069/1321
The article mentions that “Dr. Judy Mikovits, one of the lead researchers with the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease in Reno, said the FDA’s review of their findings is scheduled to be published in September.” There has been some speculation online regarding the release date of the long awaited FDA/NIH study. There has also been speculation about whether the FDA/NIH studies will be released separately or together. Some media sources have reported that the FDA and NIH studies are distinct while other media sources have classified them as the same study. The majority of online material mentioning the FDA and NIH studies refers to them as being part of the same study. I believe the most likely scenario involves the FDA/NIH being a single study that will be released during September.
During her interview with the RGJ, Dr Mikovits mentions “There has been an issue over whether anybody could replicate our study, and it will not only confirm our findings but extend our findings, which is really exciting for us.” Dr Mikovits is reiterating what has already been widely reported- The FDA/NIH study confirms the original WPI study.
The RGJ article continues, “Mikovits said they also have new, unpublished data concerning the retrovirus, XMRV, that could lead to treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.”
Dr Mikovits mentions “We have immune system profiles and we can tell by the immune system how the XMRV is doing the damage,” she said. “So we could have a diagnostic test to follow clinical treatment and show that people’s immune systems go back to normal. That’s the latest data that’s really amazing. That’s what we’re after.” This study hasn’t been released however what Dr Mikovits mentions is some of the most hopeful information regarding treating XMRV. This statement by Dr Mikovits also supports the hypothesis that XMRV does cause symptoms and possibly disease. The data detailed above will most likely be published before the end of the year in a clinical immunology journal.
Dr Mikovits also says “We totally expect at least one clinical treatment trial before the end of the year,” she said. “That is our goal and that’s what this new facility is for.” This is an encouraging statement for CFS patients as clinical treatment trials can often be a long and drawn out process.
Overall, the enthusiasm of Dr Mikovits is apparent throughout the RGJ article. This enthusiasm supports the notion that the WPI is still confident of the XMRV-CFS link.
The first international XMRV conference will be held on the 8th of September 2010. The conference program can be found here: http://www.virology-education.com/html/virology/document_download.cfm?doc=7B8A4161-945A-B176-59E650D0423712C5.PDF&doc_name=Program_XMRV_final
Originally Dr Mikovits wasn’t invited to speak at this conference however her name has recently been added to the program. Dr Mikovits will be discussing the “Detection of infectious XMRV in the peripheral blood of chronic fatigue syndrome patients in the United Kingdom.” Dr Lo will also be presenting the results of the FDA/NIH study at this conference. The results of the Swedish study looking for XMRV in the blood of CFS patients will also be revealed at this conference.
XMRV Antibody Study
A study has been published today titled “Characterization of antibodies elicited by XMRV infection and development of immunoassays useful for epidemiologic studies.” The abstract of this study is available here: http://www.retrovirology.com/content/7/1/68
The complete paper can be found here: http://www.retrovirology.com/content/pdf/1742-4690-7-68.pdf
This is an exciting result as it supports the notion that XMRV does cause an immune system response. This increases the likelihood that XMRV does cause human disease. It also supports the Lombardi et al. study which found an XMRV antibody response in a high percentage of CFS patients.
Dr David Bell’s Newsletter
Dr Bell’s latest Lyndonville newsletter is available here: http://www.davidsbell.com/LynNewsV7N2.htm
Dr Bell writes that “It is my educated guess that XMRV can be found and that it will turn out to be the cause of this disease (CFS.)”
Dr Bell also speculates that if XMRV does cause CFS it does so by knocking out enzymes which causes “massive oxidative stress.” Dr Bell speculates further that these enzymes may be makers to gauge the success of treating XMRV. Dr Bell’s newsletter is worth reading as he discusses more about XMRV and speculates about its role in CFS including further mechanisms of action.
The WPI Opening
On Saturday the 21st of August, the Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI) will be officially opened. A flyer with details about the opening can be found here: http://wpinstitute.org/news/docs/cmm_opening.pdf
The WPI is an institute dedicated to unravelling the mysteries behind neuro-immune disease. The WPI opening is part of the opening of the Center for Molecular Medicine at the University of Nevada, Reno. The Patient Advocate has written a wonderful article detailing the different aspects of the WPI building and what the WPI will use the building for. The Patient Advocate’s article can be found here: http://cfspatientadvocate.blogspot.com/2010/08/rainmakers-wpi-makes-things-happen.html
The WPI Symposium
The WPI held an “invitation-only scientific symposium” today. The WPI brought together “leading researchers, clinicians and key collaborators from the medical and research community to discuss the latest XMRV research findings, medical research data and evaluate treatment outcomes since the publication of their 2009 XMRV study.” The symposium was titled ‘XMRV in Human Disease’ and was organised by the WPI. More information about the symposium and some details of the WPI opening can be found in this media release: http://www.wpinstitute.org/news/docs/WPI_pressrel_081610.pf
The past two days have been filled with a foreshadowing of what is to come regarding XMRV research. Most of the evidence of the past two days will be published over the coming months. The FDA/NIH study should be published imminently and should signify a paradigm shift in the CFS and XMRV worlds. Each piece of information that I have mentioned in this article symbolises a puzzle piece. Some pieces are larger than other however all the pieces seem to be fitting together nicely. The jigsaw that is XMRV is coming together.