Dr. Joseph Brewer is an Infectious Disease doctor who practices in Kansas City. Dr. Brewer has worked with both HIV and CFS patients for 25 years. He also has treated many Lyme patients. As far as the Patient Advocate knows, Dr. Brewer has the most long-term experience in dealing with both HIV and CFS, putting him in the catbird seat for diagnosing and treating XMRV and its variants.
In his lecture Dr Brewer gave a brief 101 course on retroviruses. In the course of this presentation the familiar terms came up: transmember protein, surface glycoproteins, endogenous, exogenous, gammaretroviruses, xpr-1 receptor (unknown function), x and p rv, envelope spiked proteins, chemokine co-receptors, cytoplasm of cells, reverse transcriptase, double stranded viral dna, protease, two single strands of rna. Many of these terms have a poetic sound to them.
Dr. Brewer stated that he has been treating a small group of patients with antiretrovirals. The results so far have been mixed. About a third have gotten better, about a third have had very slow partial improvement and about a third have not improved at all. The thought is that these patients, and most XMRV+ patients, have an X variant (XMRV) and a P variant (PMRV) - and, most importantly, that these are two separate viruses, although both from a group of closely related viruses. Speculation is that the current drugs with activity against XMRV work against the X variant and not the P varian. (However it is important to state that Dr Brewer did not say this in his lecture. He said that we just do not know at the moment.) Presumably work is currently going on to identify drugs that will nail the P variant.
Dr. Brewer also talked about Nuclear Factor kappa B and Interferon A and their role in inflammatory illness. He mentioned that data is changing daily - in other words, things are moving fast.
According to Dr. Brewer, XMRV is potentially associated with Parkinson's, chronic Lyme disease, MS, ALS - as well as ME/CFS. In his practice, 90% of his XMRV+ patients are Lyme Disease. (The Patient Advocate had heard previously that all of Dr. Brewer's Lyme patients are XMRV+) Four our of four of his MS patients are XMRV+, 1 out of 1 ALS patient is XMVR+, and 1 out of 1 Parkinsons patient is XMRV+.
With this information, Dr. Brewer paints a very interesting and frigthening picture. It was difficult for the Patient Advocate to determine if this small bomb hit home with the conference attendees or if they just yawned. Dr Brewer, time-tested and a veteran, will remain at the very forefront of the XMRV treatment battle and the Patient Advocate and others will look to his leadership.
Dr. Brewer concluded his lecture saying that it could be surmised that lyme is an XMRV-related disease. What the lyme audience thought of this the Patient Advocate does not know.