Patient Protest Against Myra McClure’s NIH Committee Approval for CFS Grants


Thanks to the CFS Central blog for putting the news out there regarding Myra McClure’s appointment to the Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel, which approves National Institutes of Health grants for ME/CFS.  I am helping to forward a patient protest letter by Patricia Carter, who has given patients permission to reprint her letter, in order to help protest against McClure’s new role.  If you would like to learn more about McClure and this protest, you can visit the ME/CFS Forums

Please copy and paste this letter into your blog or website and then forward it to your local government officials.  Thanks to Patricia Carter for her time and effort in putting this together so that all of us can do our part. 

Myra McClure, Ph.D. has been appointed to membership on the Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel, ZRG1 CFSH80 2/22/2011-2/23/2011 meeting. I protest this appointment for the following reasons:

1)  Dr. McClure is not a United States citizen.  Why should a United Kingdom resident be deciding which applicants receive research grants in the United States?  In addition to questions of legality which arise from this, there are further questions of expense, since Dr. McClure’s travel expenses will, of necessity, be higher than those of a United States resident.

2)  Dr. McClure has publicly stated that she has no interest in research in the area of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:  “Nothing on God’s Earth could persuade me to do more research on CFS.”

Source is this article.

3)  Dr. McClure has publicly stated that she is biased as to the study of the XMRV retrovirus, which is an active area of research in the area of  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Professor McClure was a co-author of the paper published in Plos One in January 2010 titled, “Failure to Detect the Novel Retrovirus XMRV in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” As the paper’s name suggests, this study found no evidence of XMRV or MLV in CFS patients or controls. This study can be found here.

Professor McClure has publicly stated on many occasions that there is a high possibility that the XMRV/MLV related virus findings being implicated in CFS are a consequence of contamination.

Source is this article.
I ask that Dr. McClure be removed from this committee and that a qualified retrovirologist who is a resident of the United States be appointed instead.

Here is the list of email addresses kindly provided by Leela Play.

President Obama’s Science Advisor, John Holdren, at

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  1. I sent a letter to all but two of the people on the list. Thank you for the letter. I will add this to my blog in the next day or two.

  2. The fact that Dr. McClure is not a United States citizen won’t carry much weight. Many committees in the United States routinely have citizens of other countries on their rosters. However it is reasonable to question why a U.S. scientist was not chosen.

    You might also want to be aware that Brian Hoshaw who oversees the committee is a psychiatrist. Without knowing his personal viewpoint it is however impossible to say what his position would be. His background is biological psychiatry (neuroscience).

  3. See my letter against McClure’s appointment:

  4. amy anderson says:

    Here again we are at the crux of how and why we support the medical research that we actually support. The crux of the matter is a peer review process leading to the most rigorous and independent review of scientific and clinical merit.

    Here we are facing a disease with debilitating consequences on the lives and productivity of Americans getting miserable funding.

    Here we have preponderant evidence on virus involvement and one of the potential causes for this disease that are superficially dismissed by a leading scientist, McClure, who publicly shows no interest in further research.

    Here we have an NIH government employee, Scientific Review Officer Brian Hoshaw, whose job’s responsibility is to look for experts for a special emphasis panel to examine and approve ME/CFS Grants. What one would expect from a scientific review officer? At a minimum, good scientific judgment and a sense of independence in the face of potential inappropriate influences. Particularly if there are controversial and/or disputed scientific evidentiary issues that could have an impact in public health.

    Is possible that Dr Brian Hoshaw could not find any other retrovirologists, in the world, than Dr Myra McClure for his ME/CFS Committee?

    What criteria does the NIH/CSR use to select for Reviewers and, in this case, for Special Emphasis Panels?

    Is there any oversight/ supervision on Scientific Review Officers job?

    Are Scientific Review Officers expected to consult and/or ask for help in discernment when their selection of reviewers could have serious repercussions for understanding disease causes such as in CFS? This is an obvious question to ask because this is the second time, in less than one year that NIH shows little, if any, judgment on Grant Reviewer Selection. Last one was putting psychiatrist Nemeroff on a review panel.

    Wonder whether Dr Hoshaw asked for advice and who and what kind of advice he received. He seems to be a relatively young scientist, 6 publications at Pubmed, trained in Psychology and with postdoctoral ties in Psychiatry at the School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. He appears not to have had training or work experience in the basic disciplines relevant to ME/CFS and no scientific review experience either. This also raises the ultimate question: what are the criteria that NIH-Center for Scientific Review uses to hire their scientific review officers. What are the steps followed for hiring, who is involved in the selection process, who makes the final determination for hiring and on what basis.

    Peer Review is fundamental and instrumental to the NIH mission and a critical determinant of what the taxpayer’s moneys are used for. There is a consequential chain of events:


    There is a lot of room for choices and influential positioning.

    If Secretary Sebelius wants the taxpayers money to be used to the patients and public benefit, and hopefully she is, she’d better have a hard look at the hiring process for Scientific Review…. Because there might be improper connections at play, during the
    hiring personnel process, aiming at favoring special interests at the expense of neglecting real disease conditions, patients and/or scientific, medical needs.

  5. Well, it seems that “Brian Hoshaw, PhD, research associate in the Department of Psychiatry at Penn, in collaboration with Jessica Malberg, PhD, Senior Research Scientist in Neuroscience Discovery at Wyeth, discovered that IGF-1 produces behavioral effects similar to antidepressant treatments in animal models. With further examination of the way that IGF-1 and other neurotrophins increase neurogenesis, the research team may be able to develop better antidepressant drugs”…

    “The National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) has awarded the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine $1.8 million over the next three years to establish a National Cooperative Drug Discovery Group for the Treatment of Mood Disorders (NCDDG-MD). This group is comprised of researchers from the Center for Neurobiology at Penn and the Neuroscience Discovery Department at Wyeth Research Laboratories, Princeton N.J. The aim of this National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored academic-industry collaboration is to develop new antidepressant drug treatments based on the role of neurogenesis (the production of new neurons) in regulating stress and depression…..”

    With such promising well-funded translational medicine adventure in from of them (NCDDG-MD), why did they decide to deploy Dr Brian Hoshaw at the NIH Center for Scientific Review as Scientific Review Officer??. One explanation is that Dr Hoshaw had acquired extraordinarily relevant scientific expertise to foster and speed up a long-awaited goal of NIH: “The NIH wants drug-development programs to jump-start new approaches for creating drugs to treat depression,” explains Irwin Lucki, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and principal investigator of the Penn component of NCDDG-MD.

    It is very sad to see how Penn School of Medicine (in collaboration with NIH) trains, prepares and uses potential leaders. What an excellent and reinvigorating environment.

    Here is the link to the announcement:

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