Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lasker award winner joins Canadian XMRV Studies

by Cort on January 22, 2011:

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. Read more>>

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