XMRV Buzz - Take a Deep Breath/the Big XMRV Meeting, Singh On XMRV, Sample prep?

Sean

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I'm guilty, but you are exactly right. Very well said, Sean! Thanks
Just for the record, I don't claim my public comments about ME/CFS issues are beyond reproach either. I have said stuff that wasn't helpful and shouldn't have been said.

My point is just that there is a good reason why public debate about important, difficult issues needs to be tempered and moderated to a degree.

Free speech is important, but equally so is responsible, constructive use of that free speech.

It's a fine line.
 

Cort

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From the 18th

Dr. Mikovits and Annette Whittemore Talk in Santa Rosa - Lannie has provided a nice overview of the first part of Dr. Mikovits, er Annette Whittemore's talk (Annette had to step in for a bit when Dr. Mikovits plane was delayed). The dangers of sample freezing were mentioned again....could such a simple (but perhaps overlooked) factor be causing the negative results? We also heard that XMRV infection rates in families seem to be evenly split between men and women and a closer look at those original samples found a second strain of XMRV in about 30% of them. For more check out the overview here.

The Canada Studies - a Key Figure Shows Up? - in the look at the year ahead in CFS a set of very interesting Canadian XMRV Studies were missed. These studies, done in full communication with the WPI, were started last July and involve Dr. Stein, Dr. Tyrrell and Dr. Houghton at the University of Alberta.

Dr. Houghton is an intriguing figure. He was nominated for the CFSAC panel last year by the CFIDS Association of America and was accepted. He kind of snuck in under the ME/CFS Community's radar but he may be the most celebrated researcher yet to serve on the panel. A former Lasker award winner for the discovery of hepatitis he was described in this way by the Pres. of the Univ. of Alberta.

“Michael Houghton’s discovery of the hepatitis C virus is one of the most significant biomedical breakthroughs in the last 20 years. His work is the foundation of research to improve and save the lives of millions of people around the world. Having him as part of our already impressive team of scientists and the recent establishment of the University of Alberta’s Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology together propel the University of Alberta to the forefront of research into virus-based diseases.”—Indira Samarasekera, president, University of Alberta

He has no background at all in CFS and Kim McCleary was pleasantly surprised he accepted their offer. He was quite intrigued by EBV connection at Science Day and clearly touched by some of the stories and openly talked about wanting to get the pharmaceutical industry involved in a study. In the past year he received the Canadian Excellence Chair for Virology and he joined the newly established Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology which received $75 million dollars in grants at the University of Alberta. In his interview he talked about doing three things; two involved hepatitis C (170 million people around the world are infected) and the last was uncovering new viruses at play in diseases. No mention was made of CFS or XMRV but he is involved in the Alberta XMRV studies. In any case, connections do matter and one wonders if Dr. Houghton might have gotten connected to CFS at a very opportune time.

His presence at the CFSAC panel is an illustration of the increasing prominence of many of the members. With Dr. Lipkin, Dr. Singh, Dr. Holmberg and an HIV head at the Univ. of Pittsburg all nominated to the panel (by the CAA - no other nominations are known, if any were received) hopefully more major figures will soon be joining Dr. Houghton.
 

Cort

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Latest Buzz

American Red Cross Moves Forward Quickly! - Amy Dockser's latest health blog from the WSJ is really interesting. First of all it states that the Red Cross is starting to collect samples from no less than 10,000 donors to search for XMRV and XMLV's. Another study will look at,120 people have already received blood. The tests will be run by Gen-Probe and Abbott labs - neither of which is participating in the BWG study.

Abbott, of course, is a huge diagnostic lab that has been developing antibody and presumably other tests for XMRV. They have been closely involved in XMRV for quite some time. They co-sponsored, with the NIH, the International Workshop on XMRV in Sept of last year and Dr. Silverman is a paid consultant to the lab. They were involved in the primate study that evoked so much interest but an earlier Abbot antibody study found almost no XMRV in about 1,000 healthy donors. Gen Probe on the other hand said in Nov that it had developed a super sensitive test that could pick up XMRV before antibodies to it were formed.

Both studies are in the planning stages but sample collection will start soon. One wonders when testing will begin...It appears we're at least 6 months from any BWG conclusions about standardized assays...Will Abbott be using the same antibody test they used before? (And why do another test when Abbott's initial testing of about 1,000 samples was basically negative?) Will Gen Probe wait for the BWG findings??? Has the Red Cross - which also is not part of the BWG, decided that the Abbott and Gen Probe tests are accurate? It appears so.