Brewer's Talk at ILADS by C. Cairns


Senior Member
Monday, October 18, 2010

ILADS conference 2010 - Dr. Joseph Brewer

The third presentation that drew the attention of the Patient Advocate was a talk by Dr. Joseph Brewer entitled "XMRV and CFS". The PA heard Dr. Brewer give this lecture at the Whittemore Peterson Institute in August 2010. At that time, the Patient Advocate found himself standing next to a tall fellow and reading his name tag: Dr. Joseph Burrascano. What was Dr. Burrascano doing at an XMRV event? His presence, in a nutshell, demonstrates the outreach of the WPI. Thanks to Burrascano four or five XMRV/ME/CFS/Infectious Disease doctors where invited to the ILADS conference.

Dr. Joseph Brewer is an Infectious Disease doctor who practices in Kansas City. Dr. Brewer has worked with both HIV and CFS patients for 25 years. He also has treated many Lyme patients. As far as the Patient Advocate knows, Dr. Brewer has the most long-term experience in dealing with both HIV and CFS, putting him in the catbird seat for diagnosing and treating XMRV and its variants.

In his lecture Dr Brewer gave a brief 101 course on retroviruses. In the course of this presentation the familiar terms came up: transmember protein, surface glycoproteins, endogenous, exogenous, gammaretroviruses, xpr-1 receptor (unknown function), x and p rv, envelope spiked proteins, chemokine co-receptors, cytoplasm of cells, reverse transcriptase, double stranded viral dna, protease, two single strands of rna. Many of these terms have a poetic sound to them.

Dr. Brewer stated that he has been treating a small group of patients with antiretrovirals. The results so far have been mixed. About a third have gotten better, about a third have had very slow partial improvement and about a third have not improved at all. The thought is that these patients, and most XMRV+ patients, have an X variant (XMRV) and a P variant (PMRV) - and, most importantly, that these are two separate viruses, although both from a group of closely related viruses. Speculation is that the current drugs with activity against XMRV work against the X variant and not the P variant. Presumably work is currently going on to identify drugs that will nail the P variant.

Dr. Brewer also talked about Nuclear Factor kappa B and Interferon A and their role in inflammatory illness. He mentioned that data is changing daily - in other words, things are moving fast.

According to Dr. Brewer, XMRV is potentially associated with Parkinson's, chronic Lyme disease, MS, ALS - as well as ME/CFS. In his practice, 90% of his XMRV+ patients are Lyme Disease. (The Patient Advocate had heard previously that all of Dr. Brewer's Lyme patients are XMRV+) Four our of four of his MS patients are XMRV+, 1 out of 1 ALS patient is XMVR+, and 1 out of 1 Parkinsons patient is XMRV+.

With this information, Dr. Brewer paints a very interesting and frigthening picture. It was difficult for the Patient Advocate to determine if this small bomb hit home with the conference attendees or if they just yawned. Dr Brewer, time-tested and a veteran, will remain at the very forefront of the XMRV treatment battle and the Patient Advocate and others will look to his leadership.

Dr. Brewer concluded his lecture saying that it could be surmised that lyme is an XMRV-related disease. What the lyme audience thought of this the Patient Advocate does not know.

It has been pointed out that Dr Andrea Kogelnik, director of the Open Medicine Clinic in Mountain View, CA, also gave a presentation but the Patient Advocate missed this, as he was on his way to Eatontown, N.J. to hear Dr. Judy Mikovits.

Posted by consuegra at 7:31 AM


Fine, thank you
Thanks, Shannah - you're doing us a great service in posting this stuff! Patient Advocate is doing a fine job with his detailed reporting, too.


Senior Member
Thanks for sharing.

An hour ago there was a documentary about Lyme disease on the Dutch television. I was wondering if people with Chronic Lyme maybe have the XMRV virus... and then I read this post. Wow.
I am even wondering if ticks are maybe transmitting this virus. Ticks can transmit viruses and mouse blood is an important part of their diet. Presumably there is a variant of this virus that can both infect mouse and human?

Anyway, some Lyme patients have received antibiotics for a year. If that doesn't relieve symptoms, I am guessing it's not just a bacteria and maybe a virus as well.
(There are still other options of course: maybe they get the wrong antibiotics or the symptoms are because of damage already done)


disjecta membra
Los Angeles, CA
The potential connection between Lyme and XMRV will be really fascinating from a geographic point of view - since Lyme is so endemic to some areas and very uncommon in others.

Here in Southern California, Lyme disease is not completely unheard of, but it's very, very rare compared to the rates of prevalence in other areas.