Journal of IiME Volume 4 Issue 1 www.investinme.org SPEAKERS and ABSTRACTS of the there are more HERV K-18 alleles in post-mono ME/CFS patients than in controls. Professor Brigitte Huber – Abstract: Presence of Retrovirus as a Biomarker for ME/CFS The etiology of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is far from understood and is likely due to multiple genetic components. Infection with EBV (EpsteinBarr virus) and treatment with IFN-α have been implicated in the pathogenesis. Our laboratory has shown that EBV-infection, as well as exogenous IFN-α, activate transcription of the env gene of a Human Endogenous Retrovirus, HERV-K18. This provirus is normally silent, but when induced it encodes a superantigen (SAg), which is a class of proteins that is capable of deregulating the immune system. In preliminary studies we had observed that HERV-K18 mRNA levels are significantly higher in B cells from CFS patients compared to the baseline expression seen in healthy controls. Thus, we hypothesized that HERV-K18 is a risk factor for CFS. To address this working model in more detail, we are collecting a cohort of blood samples from patients who developed CFS after suffering from infectious mononucleosis, caused by EBV infection. Each individual is bled 3x over a two-year period, in order to check for fluctuations in HERV-K18 expression, in relation to disease symptoms. This cohort is compared to two other cohorts, consisting of 1) CFS patients who did not have infectious mononucleosis, and 2) healthy controls that have baseline HERV-K18 expression only. The data we have obtained so far from these ongoing studies will be presented. These patients have also been tested for XMRV, a newly discovered g-retrovirus, xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus, that has been claimed to be prevalent in CFS patients. Our data on this work will be presented and discussed. 5th INVEST in ME INTERNATIONAL ME/CFS CONFERENCE Annette Whittemore Founder and President of the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuroimmune Diseases, Reno, Nevada, USA Annette Whittemore graduated from the University of Nevada with a BS Ed in Elementary and Special Education. Teaching children who had neuro-cognitive deficits, like those found in autism, ADD, and learning disabilities, provided her with a unique experience to later use in her pursuit of answers to her daughter's serious illness. Annette is the parent of a young adult who was severely affected by CFS and HHV-6. She and her husband are business owners and philanthropists in Reno and Sparks. Annette Whittemore was President and Cofounder of the foundation and became active in starting the HHV-6 foundation. She started the foundation with Kristin Loomis from California after a brief meeting in Incline, NV. with Dr. Daniel Peterson, a leading clinical researcher in CFS and HHV-6. When her daughter became ill with a chronic neuroimmune disease, Annette began to seek appropriate medical care. Annette found that few doctors understood the reasons for her daughter's continuing physical decline. For this reason, Annette has committed her time and resources to bringing attention to the serious nature of neuroimmune diseases and change her community in a positive way. She began this important mission in 1994 by supporting a Think Tank on ME/CFS, led by Dr. Daniel Peterson of Incline Village. In 2004 she and another patient advocate began a medical foundation to support research to find biomarkers of disease and treatments for patients impacted by the HHV-6A virus. In order to provide solutions for patients and bring new doctors into this field of medicine, Annette, legislators, and others supported a bill to build a biomedical research center at the University of Nevada, Reno with an Institute for Neuro-Immune disease and the Nevada Cancer Institute. Annette founded the WhittemorePeterson Institute for Neuroimmune Diseases which is being built on the medical campus with its mission to serve those with complex neuroimmune diseases such as ME/CFS, viral induced central nervous system dysfunction and Invest in ME (Charity Nr. 1114035) Page 52/56

53 Publizr Home

You need flash player to view this online publication