Arch Virol (2004) 149: 1257–1258
Polansky, H.: Microcompetition with Foreign DNA and the Origin of Chronic
Disease. 543pp, The Center for the Biology of Chronic Disease, Rochester, New York,
2003. ISBN 0-9740463-0-2 Paperback $79.99.
No student of biomedical sciences could ignore the appearance of a new theory offering
explanations for the origin of chronic diseases. Systematic testing and better understanding
of a framework outlined by such a theory may lead to a paradigm shift in scientiﬁc view on
the nature of “health” as well as causality of “disease.”
According to a new book, Microcompetition with Foreign DNA and the Origin of Chronic
Disease, by Dr. Hanan Polansky, the current paradigm holds that viral proteins are the sole
mediators of the viral effect on the host cell, in other words, “no viral protein, no effect.”
Since “no viral proteins,” or almost “no viral proteins,” is a characteristic of a latent viral
infection, the current view holds that a latent viral infection should be mostly harmless.
In contrast with the current “viral protein”-dependent paradigm, the book presents a
newly discovered, “viral protein”-independent effect, called microcompetition. In brief, the
effect of “microcompetition” can be described as a sequence of elementary processes and
their interactions. The transcription factor GABP binds the promoter/enhancer of many
cellular genes. GAPB binds and transactivates many viral promoters/enhancers, such as the
promoter/enhancer of Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), Herpes Simplex
Virus 1 (HSV-1), Polyomavirus, Rous SarcomaVirus (RSV), Moloney Murine LeukemiaVirus
(Mo-MuLV), Human Immunodeﬁciency Virus (HIV), and Human T-cell lymphotropic virus
(HTLV). GABP binds the p300/cbp co-activator. Since p300/cbp is limiting, the transcription
complex GABP · p300/cbp is also limiting. A persistent latent infection with a virus that binds
this transcription complex competes with the cellular genes, and decreases the availability
of the complex to the cellular genes. The decreased availability of the GABP · p300/cbp
complex results in abnormal transcription of the cellular genes and abnormal cell functioning.
Therefore, the proposed new theory of “microcompetition” suggests that a latent viral infection
is not harmless; it actually leads to disease.
To be honest, it took me three attempts to read this book. The ﬁrst attempt resulted in
frustration and confusion. The unusual writing style, complex terminology, and volume of
information was daunting. I put the book aside, but the seeds of curiosity had been planted, and
intriguing ideas took root. They began to grow, and soon I was forced to return to my reading.
My second attempt was far more productive but nevertheless challenging. I went through
all seven chapters of technical notes. It was a slow process, not because of the numerous
mathematical equations (which were straightforward and well-supported) but because I found
myself repeatedly distracted by independent thoughts and ideas triggered by the content of
the book. I would read a sentence or two and immediately attach my own observations to
the proposed frame, and test the ﬁt; I was amazed by the serendipities. My third attempt was
joyous; the book served its purpose – it made me think differently! What had ﬁrst seemed
like cumbersome technical notations became transparent when I connected them to the work