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Michael Holmes Retrovirus Work

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Andrew, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. Andrew

    Andrew Senior Member

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    Dr Michael Holmes, from New Zealand had found evidence a retrovirus as early as 1986, and later he produced photos of the retrovirus. He wrote in The Clinical and Scientific Basis for Myalgic Enchelphalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (1/97) that "structures consistent in size, shape and character with various stages of a Lentivirus (retrovirus) replicative cycle were observed by electron microscopy in cultures from CFS patients..."

    We all hear the story of how De Frietas got shot down, but what ever happened to Michale Holmes. Perhaps the same story but in New Zealand? Anyone know more about him?
  2. Countrygirl

    Countrygirl Senior Member

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    Retrovirus 1986ish



    Hi Andrew,

    Yes, very recently I also found a reference to the fact that the first retrovirus in M.E. was discovered in the mid '80s. Racking my brain cell to try to remember where.....will get back to you...May have been on the M.E. Association site....not sure. Brain dead today....willl soak said brain cell in coffee to perk it up....:confused:
  3. Jill

    Jill

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    Andrew : Mike Holmes

    Hi, I knew Mike well, as was editting our journal at the time. He kinda went the way of Elaine unfortunately. He managed to keep working, although had to retire about 5 yrs ago due to ill health. The Uni did not particularly like him working in the area, and a family trust fund managed to keep a PhD on the job at a shoestring thru our patient orgn. we are trying to get him to look out his unpublished work. He has great pictures. He also had devised a set of tests to do, which when graphed showed very unique/particular pattern in ME patients. ie he measured various things - NK levels, plus ??? and graphed them along different axis's. Patients all showed what he called "the bird head" pattern. The controls something else. He was saying, that if you look at a whole bunch of tests - mainly immunological, each one may not look too bad, but as a whole, they weren't the same as controls. He had hoped it could be a sorta surragate marker. He was convinced he saw a retrovirus, but that it was in the lenti family as you say

    I'm writing this after I've taken my sleep meds, so I hope it makes sense.
  4. sunshine722

    sunshine722

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    I noticed about Holmes in the Klimas lecture transcripts:

    Section 2: Viruses & CFS/ME; WPI & XMRV

    The other half of the medical literature was looking at pathophysiology, just what's wrong. And this group in Miami has from the very first day, actually the very first group, to look at the immune system as a major mediator of the cause of this illness. In 1989 we wrote a paper from our first series of patients that show that the chronic fatigue patients had immune activation and poor antiviral cell function. We wrote that paper in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology back at the beginning, very early on, and a couple papers right after by Jay Leevy's group that say the same thing, and thats what launched us in this field.

    So we've been focused on viruses from the very first day. So what do we know. The very first day we looked at Epstein-Barr virus and other herpes family viruses. Epstein-Barr and Cytomegalovirus were the first viruses that were looked at. Dr. Levy's paper and my own and others said, what we saw in all these virus serologies we looked at, when we looked at the antibodies, was EBV is there, we can't say it's not. There's all kinds of other serology for other things that didn't pan out. But Epstein-Barr over the years, time after time, there's been at least a subgroup of patients that looked to have a higher level of Epstein-Barr virus than they should have. CMV a little less so.

    In the 1990s two things happened. First, Elaine DeFreitas and Mike Holmes from New Zealand both published papers at about the same time, 1991-92, saying that they saw a retrovirus in chronic fatigue syndrome. And Dr. Holmes paper had all these beautiful scanning electron micrographs of little budding viruses coming off of white blood cells that looked for all the world like a retrovirus. And Elaine DeFreitas who was at the Wistar Institute at the time published a paper that said she had fairly good evidence that there was a retrovirus.

    What happened next was a little complicated, partly from our point of view--we recruited Elaine down at the University of Miami and she joined our faculty, but unfortunately she became very ill very shortly after and left. So we never got to pursue her work which is a shame. Im sure shes feeling very good right now about this new work. The other thing that happened was that the Centers for Disease Control published a paper and presented at a number of conferences that they failed to find that retrovirus. And it was a shame because that was out it was left. There was this positive finding from two different groups, one group saying absolutely not, and then nothing much went further from there. So we lost unfortunately that time from then to now. Ill have to say though, we didnt know this virus hadnt been identified yet. I dont think it would have been a rapid thing there, but certainly we would have been further along than we were now.
  5. Suzanne

    Suzanne Guest

    Have been in contact with Mike Holmes and he watches the XMRV research with interest. He unfortunately got ill and had to stop his research. His samples were thrown out about 4 years ago as the University didn't think he would be back to work on them any more. It is tragic.
    Also thrown out was epidemiology work that Mike had been doing with Dr Snow for the NZ Tapanui epidemic and that was also tragic. Mike is hoping to write a review of his work if his health improves. The electron micrographs are very good of the retrovirus budding off etc.
  6. Andrew

    Andrew Senior Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. I'm sorry to hear about his bad health, and to make things worse, the university trashing his stuff.

    Coincidentally, I recently purchased a book and was pleased to see an article there by Holmes (including his photos).
  7. Richard

    Richard Guest

    Michael Holmes' Retrovirus Work

    I came across this forum accidentally and was interested in the discussion regarding Mike Holmes' work in the 1980s. I worked with Mike and undertook electron microscopy for him. It is not correct that all materials from Mike's work were destroyed as I still have some of materials that were prepared for EM. These are fixed and embedded and so there is no reason why these could not be studied further by EM, if there was interest. They are stable indefinitely.

    There is, however, minimal information stored with the actual samples. Obviously any access to these specimens and the data from them (EM negatives etc) would require the approval of the people concerned (Mike, for starters) but assuming that was obtained, the OCEM would have no objection to sharing the materials and data we have stored with other researchers.
  8. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

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    Wow Richard, this is great information for our researchers. I hope some interested parties will take on the opportunity!!!
  9. Hysterical Woman

    Hysterical Woman Senior Member

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    Wow, Richard

    Thanks for sharing this information and welcome to the forums. This place is just phenomenal. Have you contacted the WPI about the information that you have? Maybe they would like to see the materials? What about others who might be giving DeFreitas's work a second look? I believe both Dr. Bell and Dr. Cheney believe in a retroviral connection? Might they have an interest in looking at some of this?

    Please jump into any thread discussions when you can. I am sure you could make a contribution!

    Take care,

    HW
  10. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    Thanks Richard,

    I also contacted Dr Holmes and was very sorry to hear how ill he is. Was in contact with him in the late 80's and 90's as well.
    So pleased to hear that some materials remain.

    I've tested positive for the XMRV virus.
  11. anne_likes_red

    anne_likes_red Senior Member

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    ukxmrv - I'm guessing if you were in contact with Mr Holmes at that time perhaps you were part of the Tapanui Flu outbreak?
    Interesting if so, because that would mean XMRV (or whatever it is exactly WPI and the American clinics have identified) is likely present here in that same form.
    I became unwell the same year as that outbreak, but in a North Island Hospital.

    PS, no need to reply if info is sensitive :)

    PPS, regardless - hope you're doing "OK" with your positive result. Best, Anne.


    QUOTE=ukxmrv;46701]Thanks Richard,

    I also contacted Dr Holmes and was very sorry to hear how ill he is. Was in contact with him in the late 80's and 90's as well.
    So pleased to hear that some materials remain.

    I've tested positive for the XMRV virus.[/QUOTE]
  12. Andrew

    Andrew Senior Member

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    Hi Richard. Thanks for jumping in. So people can stay in touch, please subscribe to this thread and make your setting so you are notified of posts here. That way if a scientist wants to follow up on your offer, he/she can get hold of you.
  13. Retroviruses in Dunedin

    I was the clinician who referred patients to Dr Holmes back in the 80s in Dunedin. I also did a study of cell-mediated immunity in 33 people with ME/CFS and controls which demonstrated a T cell abnormality. In the discussion I commented " It is altogether possible that further retroviruses exist causing a spectrum of ill health in the community and further investigation of of this syndrome of relapsing malaise, muscle pain , early muscle fatigue and , noiw, immune deficiency, might be able to reveal such a factor." NZ Med J 1988;101:501-2.
  14. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

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    So Cambpell would you mind commenting on the recent and not so recent developments (especially XMRV) from your point of view? Are you still practicing? What are your peers saying about XMRV? This is all valuable information. As for the journal referral, would you know if it's available online? Thanks!
  15. shrewsbury

    shrewsbury member

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    hi Campbell. Welcome to the forum.

    Your post absolutely astounds me. In 1988 you published a t-cell abnormality in ME/CFS and concluded that retroviruses might be involved.

    22 years ago.

    I imagine, okay I'm projecting, that the XMRV news must be rather bitter sweet for you.
  16. shrewsbury

    shrewsbury member

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