Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks & XMRV?

FernRhizome

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I've just started to listen to the NYT bestseller's list book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. It's EXCELLENT. I highly recommend it, just as good, probably even better than The Double Helix!

The "HeLa" cells used in labs all around the world came from Henrietta Lacks. The book recounts Henrietta's life and that of her children (she was never told her cells had been taken for scientific research) and the lives of the scientists who finally were able to keep the HeLa cells growing.

I am wondering if Henrietta Lacks' cervical cancer cells will end up being connected to XMRV—given that XMRV was found in reproductive organs. And the cause cell growth. Henrietta's cells were the first cells to ever be kept alive outside a human and they grew faster than any cells had ever been seen to grown before. The author of this book, Rebecca Skloot, is the daughter of Floyd Skloot, another great writer who has CFS and has written several books on the experience of living with CFS.

POSTSCRIPT: I was interested enough in this question to write Dr. Mikovits and she very kindly just answered. If you scroll down you can find her answer, that XMRV does not seem to be present in HeLa cells.
 

gracenote

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Here is an excerpt from The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks called The Miracle Woman that appeared in O Magazine's January edition.

It's a fascinating story. I had no idea that Rebecca Skloot was the daughter of Floyd Skloot.

The Miracle Woman
 

JillBohr

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Here is an excerpt from The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks called The Miracle Woman that appeared in O Magazine's January edition.

It's a fascinating story. I had no idea that Rebecca Skloot was the daughter of Floyd Skloot.

The Miracle Woman
Thank you Gracenote for that link. Did you see that her oldest child had epilepsy and could not talk? It sounds like her child had autism.
 

FernRhizome

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I can't wait for the rest of you to read the book! I am now on the second audio CD and yes, I keep thinking XMRV, cervical cancer, a child with autism????? Seems like it would be cinch for researchers to have already tested some HeLa cells for XMRV????? They must have done this already. I wonder how we can find out? ~Fern

PS I just sent Judy Mikovits an e-mail to ask her about HeLa cells and XMRV. Will report back if I hear anything.

Wow! She replied quickly this afternoon so I am adding this in here! Here's her response:

HeLa cells are not infected with XMRV. Every human transformed cell line in the NCI's 60 cell line screen has been tested for XMRV and NONE were infected. So far only one cell line has been found to be infected that has been published to date and that is one called 22rv1 a prostate cancer cell line. It is a great misconception that XMRV is in human and mouse cell lines. IT IS NOT. We proved this in our Science paper. The paper would not have been published if we had not proven that XMRV was a new human infection and not a mouse or any other kind of contaminant.

It could be that Henrietta was infected with the virus and it not be in that particular cell line..but we will never know that answer. Your connection is indeed an astute one and we have no doubt that other tumors will be associated with XMRV infection and have isolated it from a cancer cell line (we will publish that soon)

That you for your kind words of encouragement and support. Best wishes. Judy
 

determined

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HPV

It's my understanding that Henrietta had a very aggressive strain of human papilloma virus, which is known to cause cervical cancer.

I read half of the book and loved it, but then had to return it to the library. I have it on hold again.

My son has recently been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. I am wondering if I have XMRV and if he does too......
 

JillBohr

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I really appreciate Dr. Judy responding so fast to this inquiry. I am not a scientist nor do I play one on T.V. I tend to jump to conclusions and I appreciate her keeping me in line.
 

JillBohr

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Your connection is indeed an astute one and we have no doubt that other tumors will be associated with XMRV infection and have isolated it from a cancer cell line (we will publish that soon)
That you for your kind words of encouragement and support. Best wishes. Judy[/I]
O.K., I will bet my money on breast cancer. The reason I jump to this concusion is because of that Raltegravir paper in which it states, "We found that the retroviral integrase inhibitor, raltegravir, was potent and selective against XMRV at submicromolar concentrations, in MCF-7 and LNCaP cells, a breast cancer and prostate cancer cell line, respectively."

Link here: http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0009948

Just wanted to add that I had breast cancer when I was just 20 years old and I have two children with autism so I am on the edge of my seat for this one.
 

FernRhizome

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Wow Jill: Of course you are on the edge of your seat! I am too because both my parents (my Dad even) have breast cancer and two family members have asperger's!
 

JillBohr

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Oh Fern. I am so sorry that both of your parents have breast cancer but in the same breath I am excited. I know that sounds awful, I mean, I hope they are doing well, but I think we are definitely on to something. I can't remember, have you been tested for XMRV and what are the results, if you do not mind. I keep on forgetting who is positive and negative around here. I have not been tested yet (nor my children). If I do get testing, it will be them first since they have autism. If they are positive, then I will get tested.
 

ukxmrv

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Having lost a Grandmother and a GGM at very early ages from breast cancer both leaving a young family bereft, we are expecting a connection as well.

Sorry to hear about your parents Fern

XMRV+
 

gracenote

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My dad had prostate cancer. Although I don't think it was the aggressive kind, it did come back (he died of other causes).
My older sister now has ME/CFS and FM.
One of my younger sisters had an aggressive form of breast cancer that was fortunately caught early.
I have ME/CFS and FM and possibly Lyme and just tested positive for XMRV.
Lots of kids, grandkids, great-grandkids among us with no sign of illness except one niece who got mono last year and is still struggling with it.
 

FernRhizome

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JillBohr & ukxmrv:
Both my parents are just fine! It was caught early in both cases and they are now around 80 years old and much MUCH healthier than I am. I haven't been tested yet for XMRV but am hoping to be in a study soon. Hoping I can get into the WPI study. It's hard to wait for openings for testing to become available for all of us....~Fern
 

ukxmrv

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I had a call from my Mother today. She said that before my Father died (of a stroke) he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Imagine waiting until now to tell me. I spoke to her months ago about XMRV and prostate cancer.

It's been hard on my Mother though and this simply must have slipped her mind. Bit of a shock though.

XMRV+
 

JillBohr

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JillBohr & ukxmrv:
Both my parents are just fine! It was caught early in both cases and they are now around 80 years old and much MUCH healthier than I am. I haven't been tested yet for XMRV but am hoping to be in a study soon. Hoping I can get into the WPI study. It's hard to wait for openings for testing to become available for all of us....~Fern
Fern, that is great that your parents are doing well. Still, so strange that they both had this. It is also wonderful that both of your parents are alive. Are they able to help you at all? My in-laws (or sort of ex-in-laws) are in their 80's and they help their ME/CFS daughter every once in a while by bringing food over when she is bed-ridden. However, during her up moments, she helps drive them to their doctor appts. It is sort of embarassing but my ME/CFS sister-in-law has more energy than most of us do when she is doing well. She also helps me in taking care of my ASD children.
 

acer2000

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I am pretty sure that the woman whos cells came to be known as "HeLA" cells had HPV, before they knew that HPV in some cases caused cervical cancer...
 

ahimsa

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Went to a reading Monday night (Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks)

Rebecca Skloot did a reading from her book on Monday night (at Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon). Her father, Floyd Skloot, did the introduction (by the way, I'd recommend his novel, Patient 002, to anyone, but especially to ME/CFS folks - see http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9780979209161-3 ).

My wonderful husband drove me to the event, dropped me at the door, listened to the reading and the Q&As with me, and then stood in the long line afterwards to get the book signed for me. Yes, he's a real keeper!

I just wanted to share that little story because it was so exciting for me to be able to attend. As I'm sure many folks on this forum can understand, being out and about for such a long event, especially one that is held in the evening, can be real challenge for me. I have not yet read her book but I'm looking forward to it.

Also, thanks for posting that email reply from Dr. Mikovits.