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Article: Mikovits Era at WPI Ends - The WPI Makes the Right Move In Letting Chief Researcher Go: An

Discussion in 'Phoenix Rising Articles' started by Phoenix Rising Team, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. Phoenix Rising Team

    Phoenix Rising Team

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  2. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I've just skimmed this before bed, but my first impression is that you're being a bit kind to the Whittemores, who have been pretty outspoken themselves. From what I've read, there's no indication that the Whittemores were unhappy with the PR which resulted from Mikovits approach - Mikovits was a CFS novice prior to the WPI, so I would assume that she got much of her fire about it from them.
  3. floydguy

    floydguy Senior Member

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    As I mentioned on another thread, Annette Whittemore and the Board allowed this train wreck to occur. Perhaps Dr. Mikovits was not prepared for the managerial side but what about Annette?
  4. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    I agree that the Whittemore's created an environment that allowed things to happen that did not support the Institute. On the plus side Annette was able to function in public in a way that generally did not reflect poorly on the WPI.

    Despite obviously being very smart, Annette like Dr. Mikovits had noexperience in running a research institute and, of course, much less experience in research itself. Would the WPI have fared better with a professional research director at the helm? Given the controversy it found itself embroiled in - I think the answer in retrospect could only be yes.
  5. floydguy

    floydguy Senior Member

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    One does not do a good job as CEO by managing themselves well but by managing others well. Apparently, Annette failed too. Dr. Mikovits brought her experience working with Ruscetti. What did Annette bring? Money, of course, but it's unclear what her background was for her to be in charge. I've never worked in a lab and certainly scientific research is not my area of expertise but management is. If Judy didn't have the skill set to do the PR aspect of it then shame on WPI for not recognizing this. Should a Research Director be running around the world talking to the press or should they be back in Reno running the lab?
  6. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    It was a difficult situation. For all its prominence the WPI is a very small organization and people were thrust into doing jobs they didn't have experience in. As I remember Judy quite early stated that XMRV was found in people with autism and other disorders without having published evidence to back it up. That as a major error - and ended up being a harbinger of things to come and it wasn't until the "XMRV will be worse than AIDS in Africa statement' - that she faded out of the spotlight - until she emerged again. So, yes, for whatever reason, Dr. Mikovits was not an effective spokesperson and it was up to Annette to keep her focused on what she did best and she didn't do that very effectively.

    Judy appeared to be an effective representative at scientific conferences but for whatever reason when the media showed up or around patients she tended to say things that hurt the institute.
  7. floydguy

    floydguy Senior Member

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    Regardless, I agree with Esther. You go far too easy on the WPI. They may be as culpable if not more so in this mess.
  8. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    I guess you're talking about Annette really. Its been a tough road. First Dr. Peterson left - nobody really knows why but I imagine that he's quite glad he did. Now Dr. Mikovits is gone and Dr. Deckoff Jones is slamming the WPI. I really like Annette - she seems very smart - and I hope she can get some good researchers in there.

    Its just really upsetting that the WPI was in better shape with a rich research program and lots of support before XMRV than they are. It's a tough business - and XMRV and retroviruses are a tough, tough field even for retrovirologists. Talk about baptism by fire....I imagine that many lessons were learned.
  9. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    I can see you're all having a nice little chat to each other here.

    Excuse me if I prefer not to join in.
    Angela Kennedy, Enid and RustyJ like this.
  10. omegaman

    omegaman

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    Exactly. Annette started this institute with the best of intentions and great enthusiasm but she was Naive to think she could be a hands on decision maker of a scientific Insntitution. There should have been an experienced director hired and that person should have been the manager while Mikovits did the research. There was also no need to constantly put Mikovits as the mouthpiece of the WPI. That's what a Professional PR dept is for. They should not have a scientist as a spokesperson. That is not what scientist are paid to do.
    I liken this situation to one you see in pro sports all the time. It is common in Professional sports for a successful business person to buy a pro sports team who knows nothing about managing the team or much about the particular spor. They then go on to hire personnel even though they have no experience in the field and also go on to try to make sports related team decisions and eventually the owner and the coach/ manager come to odds and the coach/manager gets canned or quits and the team is left in dissarray. Often the same owner keeps making this same mistake ala Dan Snyder for example. I feel as thought Annette is becoming the Dan Snyder or Gerorge Steinbrenner of the WPI and Mikovits is the Billy Martin.
    I'm willing to bet Peterson became disheartened with this venture when the Vipdx tests on patients started coming back with different results then they had in the Science paper. I have heard this happened but I am not sure. It would explain the beginning of a rift between him and the institutes work on XMRV however.
  11. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    Good points. Dr. Mikovits was put in a difficult situation - a situation she had no training for or experience in. At the Reno conference she remarked how strange it was to be talking to a person in the media (me) because that was taboo at the NIH. She had no experience at all, apparently in doing that - and then was thrust into this kind of maelstrom.

    Of course Annette was winging it as best she could as well. If everything had gone well I'll bet they would have been just fine - but once things got hot it would have helped greatly to have some with experience in dealing with the Press in there. They do have a PR dept of sorts but based on my experience with them its pretty anemic. Then again they are a small Institute doing their best - and in those situations people often wear alot of hots.
  12. Tristen

    Tristen Senior Member

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    This is much closer to the truth than all the baseless accusations about why he left the wpi. It did involve more than just being disheartened, but it's true that he was getting xmrv results back very different than the Science study stats. Also, the results were not matching up with patient clinical presentation, and response to treatments. It follows that a good clinician like himself would then participate in an independent study attempting to out the truth about xmrv. He did and is now participating with the Lipkin study.

    The rumors over him leaving for vindictive reasons, betraying the patients, attempting to bury xmrv, etc, are all completely untrue. I'm just glad he has the integrity to not be deterred by such vitriol.
  13. Daffodil

    Daffodil Senior Member

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    i thought peterson left cuz wpi kept the xmrv discovery from him because they were worried he would tell his patients?
  14. Tristen

    Tristen Senior Member

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    He was full on board with xmrv well into 2010, until he began to accumulate a substantial amount of lab results showing a high majority of negatives.

    Next up, Lipkin.
  15. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    It is true that the VIP dx tests were showing a lot of negatives. They were not running the 4 tests that the had run in the Science paper. I discussed this with them.

    Over time they were developing new tests and retesting the old bloods if they have enough of a sample to do.

    It was always sold as an experimental test. Takes time to develop reliable tests for new things.
  16. citybug

    citybug Senior Member

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    I accept that we disagree on many points but I find this front page editorial VERY offensive and badly timed. I think it should be removed from the front page and put in a personal blog spot. You are well aware from polls here and every discussion that at least half of the community disagrees with your views on HGRVs and are greatly upset by Dr. Mikovits departure from the Whittemore Peterson. This is cruel to the other patients.
    Anyone making the retroviral discovery would be in the hot seat. Annette Whittemore and Dr. Mikovits were a great team under a lot of pressure and conflicts developed between the research and commercial lab. This editorial makes many personal comments that are worse than possibly impolitic statements which may be true made by someone investigating a potentially huge public health threat. Though there may be a silver lining at some point many are devastated by the possible delays in research and treatment. I hope Dr. Mikovits quickly finds a research position to continue her work which may save some of our lives and WPI is able to concentrate on the translational aspect working with patients.
    Lily, Wayne, OverTheHills and 4 others like this.
  17. markmc20001

    markmc20001 Guest

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    The WPI and Mikovitz go down as heroes in my book for attempting to shed light and truth on the most un-loved area of health research, and the area with the most need in my opinion.

    Probably go down in history as being heroes when it all shakes out.

    :hug:
    Lily, Wayne and currer like this.
  18. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    Dr Mikovits, in my opinion, has been punished for telling the truth.

    After all, if the blood supply cannot be cleaned up, as there is no rapid - throughput assay which can successfully detect HGRVs in donated blood, what can be done?

    Can we be sure this isnt a case of "shoot the messenger"?
    Lily and ukxmrv like this.
  19. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    Agree with you, mark.
  20. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    Agree with you all currer, citybug and Markmc - their works having raised the profile of ME in the UK to the extent that it is at last firmly on the map.
    Lily, Wayne and Bob like this.

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