Archives for February, 2013

HIV and Islam: Cutting heads off the Hydra

A 12-year-old girl with sickle cell anemia in Saudi Arabia just got a blood transfusion that was tainted with HIV. In response, some politicians were fired/fined. Problem solved. *blink* Except the ‘problem’ of HIV in Islamic countries wasnt caused by some administrative oversight. There are no gay people in Iran. None at all. No one…

Last week, The Thinking Atheist interviewed psychologist/blog cousin Caleb Lack, the president of OKC Atheists Red McCall, and me. After seeing the videos Seth made for Caleb, I AM SCARED TO DEATH. CALEBS VIDS ARE SO GOOD. I didnt say anything nearly that eloquent or interesting! And DAMN Seth! The production quality of those vids!…

GMO Cowpox vs liver cancer

This is ridiculous. After all of the papers I have read, written about, the new stuff we can do with GMO viruses…I can still be amazed. This is insane: Randomized dose-finding clinical trial of oncolytic immunotherapeutic vaccinia JX-594 in liver cancer The patients in this study had liver cancer.  Specifically, malignant hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).  In…

This idea… this idea might be absolute genius… Immunogenicity of bivalent human papillomavirus DNA vaccine using human endogenous retrovirus envelope-coated baculoviral vectors in mice and pigs. The ‘best’ vaccines are live attenuated vaccines.  Weakened/Misadapted viruses that can replicate a little bit, and get your immune system to generate a B-cell response (what you get with…

ERMAHGERD! ERVALANCH! ERVs and Placentas

The connection between ERVs and placentas is already well established. Without a shadow of a doubt, the ability of mammals to generate placentas was, in part, accomplished by domesticating an endogenous retroviral env protein.  In humans, we call this protein syncytin, or ERVWE1. This new paper in Nature Genetics takes the ERV-Placenta connection a step…

Here is a nice open access review article on ERVs and their association with cancer: Human endogenous retroviruses and cancer prevention: evidence and prospects While thats wonderfully interesting, what I want to focus on is a bit at the end. More information I have never heard before– An amino acid sequence similar to HERV-K-MEL, recognized…

ERMAHGERD! ERVALANCH! ERVs and melanoma

I was actually unaware of this– But melanoma is Yet Another Disease that has been associated with wayward ERV transcription and translation.  Scientists have found inappropriate ERV RNA, protein, and anti-ERV antibodies in melanoma patients. This is the first paper to break down ‘melanoma’ into subtypes (like ‘cancer’ is not monolithic, all ‘melanomas’ are not…

ERMAHGERD! IM GONNA TALK ABOUT ERVS ALL WEEK!!! I have a love/hate relationship with the ERV-[insert brain/CNS disorder] ‘connection’.  Labs from all over the world, with independent protocols and patient cohorts, see there is something going on with, for example, ERVs and multiple sclerosis.  So there is *something* going on there, we just arent sure…

Ricky Gervais: AIDS vs Rabies

I dont know why he took it down, but Ricky Gervais Tweeted the following a few days ago: Any virologists or medical experts out there? What WOULD win out of AIDS & Rabies? Maybe he took it down because he thought it was insensitive or something, but I think its a totally normal, valid question…

ERV on Skeptiles!

I recently got to chat with the guys of Skeptiles this weekend about viruses, vaccines/anti-vaxers, HIV, HepC, Creationists– We were all over the place, and it was so much fun! Skeptiles: Episode 21 – Abbie Smith