Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Findings by Reno scientists confirmed by U.S. government

Findings by Reno scientists confirmed by U.S. government
LENITA POWERS - lpowers@rgj.com  - August 16, 2010


Two Reno scientists, who last year discovered a new infectious human
retrovirus they linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, said Monday that
their findings have been replicated and confirmed by the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration.

Dr. Judy Mikovits, one of the lead researchers with the Whittemore
Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease in Reno, said the FDA's
review of their findings is scheduled to be published in September.

"There has been an issue over whether anybody could replicate our
study, and it will not only confirm our findings but extend our
findings, which is really exciting for us," she said.

Mikovits said they also have new, unpublished data concerning the
retrovirus, XMRV, that could lead to treatment of Chronic Fatigue

"We have immune system profiles and we can tell by the immune system how the XMRV is doing the damage," she said. "So we could have a diagnostic test to follow clinical treatment and show that people's
immune systems go back to normal. That's the latest data that's really
amazing. That's what we're after."

That data will be published by the end of the year, probably in a
clinical immunology journal, she said.

Lombardi said clinical trials could begin soon at the Whittemore
Peterson Institute, which is relocating from its tiny laboratory on
the University of Nevada, Reno campus to the university's newly opened
Center for Molecular Medicine.

"Actually, we already have been contacted by people who are sending us
tests, perceiving that they may be asked to be part of the clinical
trials," he said.

"I think once the (FDA) paper comes out and once the controversy is
put to rest, the pharmaceutical companies will realize that this is
some very low-hanging fruit for them to make the next transition,"
said Lombardi. "There are so many drugs that have been developed for
HIV, and it's a retrovirus. So there's probably a ton of HIV drugs
that they can go back and re-screen that could be used."

There also are three published drugs that work against XMRV, Mikovits said.

"We totally expect at least one clinical treatment trial before the end of the year," she said. "That is our goal and that's what this new facility is for."

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