Funding the 'contamination' studies

Marco

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Anyone recall the apparent commitment of the 'new broom' at the MRC to funding more biomedical research?

The next meeting of the All Party Group on M.E. will be held at 1.30pm on 16th February in room W1, Westminster Hall.

The Group will be addressed by Professor Stephen Holgate, Chair of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Expert group on M.E. This reflects the emphasis on biomedical research which was identified as a high priority by people with M.E. via the Manifesto for M.E. prior to the election and from feedback to Action for M.E. and the ME Association since then.


And the information provided by the Minister responsible for the MRC on 2 December 2010?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Research

Ian Swales: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of expenditure from the public purse on biomedical research relating to myalgic encephalomyelitis in each of the last 10 years. [28078]

Mr Willetts: The Medical Research Council is one of the main agencies through which the Government support medical and clinical research. The MRC is an independent body which receives its grant in aid from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The selection of projects for funding by MRC is determined through peer review.

Biomedical is not a category the MRC would normally use to classify research in its portfolio. In the last 10 years, MRC expenditure on research relating to CFS/ME was as follows:


2000/01
0
2001/02
0
2002/03
0
2003/04
141,000
2004/05
559,000
2005/06
752,000
2006/07
800,000
2007/08
1.35 million
2008/09
728,000
2009/10
109,000

Projects included within these figures are as follows:

Professor R K Morriss, university of LiverpoolExploratory RCT of training general practitioners to manage patients with persistent medically unexplained symptoms (MUS).

Professor P White, Queen Mary College, LondonThe PACE trial; A RCT of CBT, graded exercise, adaptive pacing and usual medical care for the chronic fatigue syndrome.

Dr A Wearden, university of ManchesterRandomised controlled trial of nurse-led self-help treatment for primary care patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Dr K Bhui, Queen Mary College, LondonChronic Fatigue and Ethnicity.
Professor F H Creed, university of ManchesterThe feasibility of a population-based study of CFS, IBS and CWP.

Dr C Clark, Queen Mary College, LondonGeneral and specific risk markers and preventive factors for chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndromes.

Further information about most of these projects can be found on the MRC's online research portfolio at:

http://www.mrc.ac.uk/ResearchPortfolio/index.htm


No mention there of this MRC funded study then?


Disease-associated XMRV sequences are consistent with laboratory contamination


This work was funded by the European Communitys Seventh Framework Programme
(FP7/2007-2013) under the project Collaborative HIV and Anti-HIV Drug Resistance Network (CHAIN), grant agreement no. 223131 (DP, SH), the National Institute of Health Research UCL/UCLH Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre (ERG, DP, GJT) Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowships WT076608 and WT090940 (GJT), Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (AG, CJH, SM, AF, PK), the Medical Research Council (GJT, JAG) and The Royal Society (AK, OGP). The funding sources had no role in study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript; or in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.


Is this what Holgate considers a new approach to biomedical research a debunking study? Was this actually commissioned and/or funded by the MRC Expert Group on ME or from somewhere else within the MRC? Was Holgate aware of this?

And while we are on the subject. What possible interest has 'the European Communitys Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under the project Collaborative HIV and Anti-HIV Drug Resistance Network (CHAIN) in XMRV? What has XMRV and the debunking of its role in ME and prostate cancer got to do with Anti HIV drug resistance?


Background

The current European research landscape in HIV drug resistance is too fragmented to effectively contribute to the fight against spread of anti-HIV resistance. New insights into the prevalence and transmission of HIV-resistant strains in Europe in various cohort studies and the basic underlying mechanisms causing resistance and their implications for novel antiviral drugs are being developed in different networks. Structural integration of these efforts and knowledge among centres of excellence on a pan-European scale is the next crucial step. Only through a powerful pooling of knowledge, resources and tools can decisive steps against the problem of anti-HIV resistance be achieved.
 

WillowJ

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probably because of the theory that CFS patients are rushing out to get antiretrovirals (what, they're going to buy them on the Internet?), and overuse would contribute to HIV drug resistance because... um... well, it can't contribute in HIV (-) persons, as far as I know.

Use of antibiotics for viral infections can cause the normal bacteria in your system to start sharing a plasmid (basically an "expansion pack" gene) with resistance to that particular antibiotic, if you happened to have a bacterium with such a plasmid. Meaning next time you get a pathogenic bacteria (say klebsellia pneumoniae, although I'm not sure I spelled that correctly), it may well pick up the resistance plasmid to the antibiotic you'd had, and then when they give you that antibiotic, it won't help you recover from pneumonia.

I don't have any idea how viral resistance works, but I'm pretty sure it isn't relevant in someone who doesn't have and isn't likely to get the virus in question (since PWME aren't likely to be engaged in any of the risk factors for getting HIV--no 3D social life, and we have horrors enough without inducing trips chemically).