Nevada researchers discover retrovirus link to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


University of Nevada, Reno logoToday it was announced that a recently identified retrovirus has been linked to a debilitating neuro-immune disease, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). The retroviral link was discovered by scientists from the Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI), located at the University of Nevada School of Medicine on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno, and their collaborators from the National Cancer Institute and the Cleveland Clinic.

Judy Mikovits, director of research for WPI and leader of the team that discovered this association, is an adjunct faculty member in the University of Nevada School of Medicine. Her team recently published the groundbreaking findings in the journal, Science, one of the world’s leading journals of original scientific research, global news and commentary. The team’s findings mark a major breakthrough in understanding the origins of this disease that affects more than one million people in the United States.

“This is an incredibly significant discovery for those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and it has important implications for the world of science and medicine,” said University of Nevada, Reno President Milt Glick. “Scientific breakthroughs are often iterative, and a finding of this magnitude can lead to additional discoveries and new research frontiers.

“We believe in partnerships and are delighted to have the Whittemore Peterson Institute on our campus. This scientific breakthrough speaks to the level of research happening in Nevada, and this will only be magnified with opening of the Center for Molecular Medicine which will be the future home of the Whittemore Peterson Institute.

“On behalf of the University of Nevada, Reno, congratulations to the researchers with the Whittemore Peterson Institute and their collaborators from the National Cancer Institute and the Cleveland Clinic. Their work – which is inspired, shared and supported by Harvey and Annette Whittemore – will have a lasting impact on the diagnosis and treatment of this syndrome and potentially other neuro-immune diseases.”

The Center for Molecular Medicine will be home to the Whittemore Peterson Institute and will open fall 2010.

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Bob Conrad is co-founder of ThisisReno. He manages ThisisReno and Conrad Communications, LLC, his marketing communications consulting company (disclosure: he has two part-time contracts working for the University of Nevada, Reno). He is a part-time faculty member at Truckee Meadows Community College and is a regular contributor to Reno Public Radio.