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Brief news item: UNR virus discovery could lead to new drugs, treatment


tidbits from Whittemore re xmrv I hadn't seen before in RGI article Dec 29 09

UNR virus discovery could lead to new drugs, treatment

By Lenita Powers lpowers@rgj.com December 29, 2009

(if: the bolds are what was new to me)

The story in 2009: A team of researchers of the Whittemore-Peterson Institute at the University of Nevada, Reno discovered a new bug that can be transmitted via blood and other human fluids.

Judy Mikovits and Vince Lombardi, the institutes two lead researchers, discovered a link between a new infectious human retrovirus dubbed XMRV and people who have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Why it matters: The discovery of XMRV could provide doctors with the means to actually diagnose patients as having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a mysterious illness which has multiple symptoms and now is diagnosed by eliminating possible other causes. Finding the retrovirus in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome also could lead to the development of drugs to treat it and other neuroimmune diseases.

Were very hopeful that within the year, we will begin to see clinical drug trials for XMRV-related diseases such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fibromyalgia and many other unknown diseases, said Annette Whittemore, founder and president of the Whittemore-Peterson Institute.

What the skeptics say: Although the Reno researchers discovery underwent strenuous peer review before their study was published in the world renown scientific journal Science in October, protocol requires their findings be duplicated by other independent studies.

We are continuing to work with the National Cancer Institute and many other individual researchers, Whittemore said. We also are doing confirmation studies of additional Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients with other countries, including Sweden, Norway and the United Kingdom, as well as many scientists across the United States.

The Whittemore-Peterson Institutes study that found the new human retrovirus was listed as one of the top 100 scientific discoveries in 2009 in Discovery magazines January issue.

Whats ahead in 2010: Pharmaceutical companies are working to develop drugs that could be used to treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers, and clinical drug trials could begin within the year, Whittemore said.

She said the federal government is giving the National Cancer Institute funding to conduct further research into the human retrovirus. Whittemore hopes such funding eventually will be extended to private institutions.

We were told back in Washington, D.C., it could take up to five years before that kind of public funding becomes available because this is a new area of research, she said. Were hopeful that situation will change and the Obama administration will make this research a priority. Then the Whittemore-Peterson Institute could begin to make an application for the funding in 2010.

Mikovits has become a member of a national group trying to develop a standardized blood test to be used by all government agencies in the United States to detect XMRV to protect the national blood supply, Whittemore said

Eric Johnson from I&I

Senior Member
Interesting. I wonder if big pharma has tried doing Mikovits' experiments. I understand from reading Derek Lowe that they often try to check stuff before starting a big project. I would assume this is probably a big project, because there is an mile-hi mountain of cash to be made in this little field. And pharma doesnt really have a lot of other hot prospects -- theyve been stagnating and vexing out for years.