PATRICK COX SAYS :
Ladies and Gentlemen I present for your reading pleasure, Patrick Cox: Revolutionary Virus Research Expands NanoViricides' Potential Market Further
Part of the reason that I write about NanoViricides Inc. so frequently is that the company is at such an exciting point in its development. Specifically, the NanoViricides team has proven their revolutionary combination of nanotechnology and biotechnology works in animal studies. They've demonstrated that their nano-bio structures can fool human-infecting viruses in animal bloodstreams into harmlessly releasing their DNA.
They did this, as you may remember, in mouse lethality studies that proved their drug, FluCide, vastly superior to the current best flu treatment, Tamiflu. Mouse lethality studies require that no further treatments are given to test animals beyond the initial dosing. So the test mice were allowed to die, but blood work indicated that NanoViricides’ FluCide essentially “cured” the massively infected mice.
Beyond that, the company has made its technology available to important scientists at clearly prestigious institutions, including Department of Defense labs, for investigation and verification. They simply wouldn't have done this if they were not confident that the FluCide results would be replicated on other viruses. Among the tests that have been publicly announced are in vitro dengue virus, in vitro HIV, in vivo Ebola and in vivo rabies.
My fear is that once a number of positive test results are known, it will become obvious that NanoViricides is going to demolish the existing virus medication industry. At that point, the opportunity to own a piece of this transformation technology at bargain-basement prices will be gone.
So how big is that market? Estimates I've seen range from $20-29 billion annually and are growing. As far as I can tell today, NanoViricides will eventually dominate that industry. Even if other unexpected anti-virus technologies are discovered, the head start that the company has now assures that it will do very, very well for a long time.
I had expected, in fact, that we would be getting those results now. Instead, NanoViricides' “quiet period,” due to an S3 finance filing with the FDA, has extended longer than expected. This, I think, is a good thing. It gives you more time to examine the company and add it to your portfolio if you haven't already done so.
One more technical note on this topic: Investors often react negatively when a company brings in additional financing. If, however, this financing accelerates return on investment (ROI), dilution of equity may be counterbalanced by an increase in total present value. I think this is clearly the case with NanoViricides' current financing move, but it might provide some downward movement if you're looking to buy on dips.
So because NanoViricides executives can't talk about ongoing tests at the moment, I took the opportunity to ask CEO Dr. Eugene Seymour about a subject that has fascinated many scientists for the last few years. It is the newly discovered genetic connection between viruses and diseases that we have not traditionally viewed as virus diseases. In the last several weeks, in fact, several papers have been published bearing on this subject.
One, published in PLoS ONE, demonstrates that four HIV drugs also inhibit a retrovirus linked to prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome. This story, about the study, in Science Daily, points out that, “The findings suggest that if XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus) is proven to be a cause for prostate cancer or chronic fatigue syndrome, those illnesses may be treatable with drugs already approved for treating HIV.”
This is entirely plausible, as it is known that viruses have the ability to impair the host's immune system. This is a simple self-defense function on the part of viruses, but its implications are profound both for medical researchers and investors. Not only is prostate cancer linked to specific viruses, leukemia and other cancers seem to be triggered or driven by viruses.
An article in Medical News Today discusses work done by French researchers in the Retrovirus Endogenes et Elements Retroides des Eucaryotes Superieurs Laboratory. The most important part of this story is in the last paragraph: “The researchers succeeded in locating the domain responsible for this property within the amino acid sequence of the envelope protein. This domain, an authentic virulence factor, is a crucial element in the arsenal that enables retroviruses to invade their host and produce their pathogenic effect. It thus becomes a target of choice for the design of novel antiretroviral therapeutic strategies, including vaccines.”
This is, in fact, what NanoViricides' nanotech structures do. Moreover, the scientist behind NanoViricides' platform, Anil R. Diwan, Ph.D., has an 18-year head start on those who have just figured this out. The implication, now, is that this approach could have far greater application than treating infections by viruses.
For example, a researcher in Glasgow has found that childhood diabetes is associated with the presence of a particular virus. This discovery has been made just as Cambridge University researchers have published a study in the journal Science showing that type 1 diabetes is linked to mutations in a gene involved in the immune response to enteroviruses.
So scientists who wrote the PLoS ONE article are pondering the possibility of treating or preventing prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome with existing HIV drugs. Obviously, NanoViricides' superior therapy would have any greater potential. Similarly, the possibility exists that NanoViricides will have therapies for childhood diabetes as well as other diseases that many scientists believe to be mediated by viruses. This includes, incidentally, obesity and even some mental disorders. As the genome continues to be unraveled, I predict that we will find many other diseases have virus triggers.
There has been speculation to this effect for decades. What is revolutionary is the new tools that scientists are bringing to this research arena. The decoding of the human genome is one of the most important… and one of the most startling.
Listen, for example, to Dr. Phillip A. Sharp of the Center for Cancer Research at MIT. His Nobel Prize is in recognition for his role decoding the genome. He says that “We humans are well over 50% viral.”
That's right. Sharp says that half or our DNA has come from viruses. We're speaking about the so-called “junk DNA” that was initially assumed to have no active role. Today, this belief is being jettisoned. Some researchers, such as Luis P. Villarreal, director of the Center for Virus Research at the University of California, Irvine, believe humans have benefited from DNA viruses in yet unknown ways. (If you're interested in the subject you can find more here and here.)
I realize that this may be seem a bit much to process if the subject is new to you. So I asked NanoViricides CEO Dr. Eugene Seymour to comment on this emerging science and what it means to his company. Following is what he wrote.
Dr. Eugene Seymour Comments
“It's now quite obvious that many of the medical profession's most cherished notions are now being overturned by virtue of new research. My friend Dr. Howard Lipton has maintained that the initiating cascade for MS starts with a viral infection. Dr. Lipton is professor of immunology and neurology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and previously was chairman of the Neurology Department at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. One of his former colleagues, an oncologist at that medical school, feels that the initiating cascade for breast cancer comes from a retrovirus, the mouse mammary virus.
“It's interesting to note that XMRV is also a retrovirus. I feel that the intense research interest in HIV/AIDS will lead to further understanding of the links between cancer, the immune system and viruses. The number of virus-associated cancers now stands at eight, but I firmly believe that by the end of this decade, that number will at least quadruple.
“This work started with Dr. Francis Peyton Rous in 1911. The Rous sarcoma virus is named after him. I interviewed him in 1961, 50 years after his groundbreaking discovery that a virus could cause a malignancy. He was almost laughed out of the medical profession. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine 55 years later for that discovery. This was before the true nature of viruses had been discovered. So little work has been done on interrupting the linkage between a virus infection and the subsequent development of a malignancy. In 1997, Dr. Lawrence Altman, a physician-journalist from The New York Times, wrote, ‘An emerging theory is that most AIDS-related cancers are somehow linked to viral infections. But doctors do not know if HIV enhances the ability of other viruses to produce certain cancers.’
“Since there has never been a nontoxic way to destroy viruses (before the advent of nanoviricides), uncoupling the link has been a difficult task.
“Of the eight verified cancers caused by viruses, I've seen almost all of them... some in the U.S. and some in my travels worldwide. My son, when he was a resident at UCSF, saw a Chinese male with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (ultimately fatal) that was caused by a prior Epstein-Barr infection. I saw a number of these cases in China when I went there to teach the Chinese doctors how to use my AIDS test.
“I'll never forget a patient I had as a medical student on the surgical service. He was a 30-year-old who was an oil field worker in Nigeria. He presented to us with a widely metastatic carcinoma and a strange immune system collapse that we had never before seen. He died of massive overwhelming septicemia. Even though this was in the mid-1960s, 15 years before the first AIDS cases were reported, I feel that he was, in reality, the first AIDS patient I ever saw!
“I like to go back to the story of Dr. Barry Marshall, who completely upset the medical establishment with his suggestion that peptic ulcers were caused by a bacteria. He drank a brew of bacteria and managed to cause a rip-roaring gastroenteritis, which he quickly eradicated with antibiotics. Thus, almost overnight, the long-standing treatment paradigm (often surgical) was overturned.
“So how does NanoViricides Inc. fit into this picture? I'll just focus on herpesviruses and retroviruses for the purpose of this discussion. Epstein-Barr virus is a herpesvirus. We've already tested our nanoviricides against herpesviruses and have reported excellent results! With respect to retroviruses, we've done the same with HIV, which is itself a retrovirus. I feel that as we move forward with additional animal and human studies, others will take the appropriate nanoviricides and use them to evaluate the links to various cancers. I also feel that 100 years after Dr Rous' discovery, we too are poised to make a significant contribution to both the understanding and potential eradication of virus-caused malignancies.
“This is a complex undertaking and is outside the scope of our present R&D plans. Others will have to take our drugs and assume the responsibility of investigating the virus-cancer links. If these researchers can confirm the links and impact the status of a malignancy with treatment with our optimized nanoviricides, then the paradigm for treatment of cancers will have been inexorably altered.
“Incidentally, I have no interest in infecting myself with one of these viruses to see if a malignancy is the outcome. Any volunteers?”
Uh, I doubt it, Dr. Seymour.
But I am enormously excited about the possibility that nanoviricides could play a much larger role in disease prevention and treatment than is currently projected. We'll be following this area closely as it unfolds.
For transformation profits,
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