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Nature: Lombardi XMRV Paper Retracted in Full

Discussion in 'Media, Interviews, Blogs, Talks, Events about XMRV' started by Firestormm, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. Firestormm


    Cornwall England
    Science retraction letter:


    Multiple laboratories, including those of the original authors (2), have failed to reliably detect xenotropic murine leukemia virusrelated virus (XMRV) or other murine leukemia virus (MLV ) related viruses in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients.

    In addition, there is evidence of poor quality control in a number of specific experiments in the Report. Figure 1, table S1, and fig. S2 have been retracted by the authors (3).

    In response to concerns expressed about Fig. 2C [summarized in (4)], the authors acknowledged to Science that they omitted important information from the legend of this figure panel.

    Specifically, they failed to indicate that the CFS patientderived peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) shown in Fig. 2C had been treated with azacytidine as well as phytohemagglutinin and interleukin-2.

    This was in contrast to the CFS samples shown in Figs. 2A and 2B, which had not been treated with azacytidine.

    Given all of these issues, Science has lost confidence in the Report and the validity of its conclusions. We note that the majority of the authors have agreed in principle to retract the Report but they have been unable to agree on the wording of their statement.

    It is Sciences opinion that a retraction signed by all the authors is unlikely to be forthcoming. We are therefore editorially retracting the Report.

    We regret the time and resources that the scientific community has devoted to unsuccessful attempts to replicate these results.



    1. V. C. Lombardi et al., Science 326, 585 (2009); 10.1126/science.1179052.
    2. G. Simmons et al., Science 334, 814 (2011); 10.1126/science.1213841.
    3. R. H. Silverman et al., Science 334, 176 (2011); 10.1126/science.1212182.
    4. J. Cohen, ScienceInsider (4 October 2011);

    '...Alberts says the Blood Working Group finding was the final straw that led Science to request the full retraction. "The blood group study to me was dramatic evidence of poor science," says Alberts. "It gave us absolutely no confidence in the ability of the major labs involved to do the assays. I find that enormously disturbing."

    NCI's Francis Ruscetti, a prominent retrovirologist and one of the co-authors, attempted to coordinate a retraction with his colleagues but a dispute arose over wording that suggested some of the findings in the original paper were still valid.

    "We tried to get all of the authors to agree, but it got endless," says Alberts. "The responsibility that Science magazine has to the scientific community is to make a strong statement that we don't think anything in that paper can be relied on."

    WPI's Judy Mikovits, who led the study with Ruscetti, says she and two of her contributing lab assistants refused to sign the retraction...

    "We were confident of our data," Mikovits told ScienceInsider, explaining why they wanted to include a line in the retraction that said they still trusted their data and conclusions. Ruscetti refused to comment about the full retraction...'

    Paper co-author Robert Silverman of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University sent this statement to ScienceInsider:

    'I requested a full retraction of our findings this summer after discovering that the blood samples were contaminated. I was in favor of a retraction of the entire paper at that time. I am pleased to see that the Journal has now granted a retraction of the entire paper, and I agree with that decision.'


    Lombardi et al 2009 has been retracted. Lombardi. Any other findings, any resulting theories will require a new paper. I sometimes feel - reading blogs and comments etc. - that people seem to think this retraction is marking an end to any further research. That it somehow says 'there ain't no possibility of any retroviruses' or something.

    From my point of view all of this past two years has ever been about the Lombardi paper and speculations arising thereof. If there is something else, something not revealed in Lombardi - a related variant or whatever - then it will need a new paper.

    Lombardi with all its' problems and with the lack of RESULT replication was deemed unworthy. Hell even the authors were considering retraction, were even in agreement to retract - they just took forever to come up with the words and so Alberts took the decision from them. They had had long enough.

    'Alberts says they simply had been "spun" by the authors too many times for too long. "If our editorial retraction helps to end the resources to go into this fruitless endeavor, I think we've made a contribution to the scientific community," he says. '

    Lombardi was about XMRV being strongly associated with CFS patients' blood. XMRV. And it didn't pan out. It was useful. It certainly seems to have heightened concerns and revealed the widespread nature of contamination. But Lombardi et al didn't stand up the scrutiny - even by its' own authors.
  2. currer

    currer Senior Member

    I am not hoping for a "cure" for my ME.
    I do not believe the political will exists to support research that will look for one.

    When XMRV was first discovered I was naiive enough to expect that the scientific response would be rational and fair given the importance of the subject and the nature of the threat to public health.

    Now I do not think I even trust Lipkin. That is the tragedy - when science as an area of free enquiry ceases to exist and cannot be trusted.

    Do not expect that the rituximab study will lead to new treatments for us if "XMRV" and Dr Mikovits research is silenced and destroyed.

    The medical advisor of the UK's leading ME charity, Action for ME, was a co-signatory to the Van der Meer letter in PlosOne which reads as an attempt to cast doubt on the importance of the rituximab findings.
    This letter has been defended by Action for ME as "peer review".

    In my opinion the Van der Meer letter was a shameful exercise which only exposed the hidden agenda of its authors.

    The dramatic response of people with ME to rituximab, which incidentally endorses Dr Mikovits findings of MLVs in the CD20 B Cells, deserves a better response than the mealy mouthed article on rituximab in AfME's latest magazine.,10935.0.html

    There is no mention by our biggest patient charity that the Norwegian government has apologised to ME sufferers for the way the disease has been managed over the years.

    The political dimension to this story is carefully avoided in AfME's report.

    If ME responds to rituximab this dramatically then it is not and never was a psychological disorder and AfME should be calling for the DOH to admit this and modify the NHS guidelines accordingly. What better opportunity could there be? But they will never do this.

    So whose interests are AfME really serving?
    Our political system is evidently corrupt.
    So why should I believe the noisy pronouncements of the end of "XMRV"?
    This is the use of authority to impose obedience and silence dissent.
  3. biophile

    biophile Places I'd rather be.

    I would be interested in more information on this. Could you possibly have meant the critique of White et al (2001) by Sampson 2010?

    Surprise surprise, another Lancet paper on CFS with dodgy statistics? Although note White's response to Sampson (

    This also comes to mind:

    Which re-evaluates data from:

    Oh look, another Lancet paper, "nothin' suss!". ;-)
  4. Why has Gulf War Syndrome been uttelry silenced from on high?
    Did any of ya watch the documentary I psoted on this, with ex-S.E.A.L. who worked for Veteran's administration outraged when he found out there was a deliberate campaign form the highest level, to utterly bury and deny any work/research/help for Gulf War Syndrome.

    ~PROOF~ of vast conspiracies for political/financial protection/aims.

    So why the same on Me/CFS?
    You have to have power/money to pull this kind of massive "sh*t blanket" over a subject.

    "What was strange about the dog that barked in the night?
    It DIDN'T bark...."

    We are prisoners of The Village.
    We are not Human Beings, we are Numbers.
    We are Profit/Loss Enablers, nothing more.
    We are a potential threat to the governments by exposing something huge and horrible if it's ever proven we've been infected, abused, let to rot and die by them.

    and, if it needs be proven again how science can be utterly perverted, and vast forces collude to bullshit, bamboozle, rob and even slaughter the Public, here ya go, kiddies...


    and as often with what I post, there's much more to this than the mere obvious
    my point is mostly not about the simple and obvious "the abuse of science to create atomic weapons". but about how it's manipulated, how females are portrayed, how it's all made to seem rigorous and "true" etc etc.
    note please, how they put the really important fact, that this test is NOT sufficiently true to likely events, but the audience will have forgotten this AND it's at the beginning before the likely they'd cut that bit out or the the average viewer will have forgottoen this (old trick)...thus the viewer is left with the false impression that "nukes aren't that bad"

    and remember, these were Human beings, tech/society has moved on a bit, but we're no different, scumbags behave no different in the time of Ceasar, or today.
    But a lot of the truly evil, maipulative, dangerous "cabals/outlooks/interest groups/tools for public mass manipulation" cemented themselves in the 1950s.
    You do not need hitmen, "black helicopters" etc, when you have such entwined power, that you can alter who gets funding, who gets support, make it known that this, or that is not liked....who gets a fat pension....and so on. You merely weight the odds, because violence, overt acts would provoke resistance, instead of suffering under an obvious dictatorship, we suffer under manipultaive, dispersed oligarchy.

    Mikovitz, Kerr, Klimas etc could be heroes or villains, it doesn't matter to The powers That be, by "tweaking" things, you can starve researchers of support, funding etc, because these researchers threaten to change things, expose a danger etc.

    Our countries waged a horrendous , genocidal, STUPID war over a freaking LIE, and people think Those In Power wouldn't/couldn't crap on us?!
    Least we don't have those pesky WMD that never were or we'd all be on the way to Gitmo, rather than left to rot, so hey, it could be worse :p
  5. currer

    currer Senior Member

    I did not see that documentary, Silverblade, but I know from my work in the ME patient charity field, that the veterans were well aware in the early nineties that there was a link between the way ME was treated and their own problems in getting their disability accepted because I knew some of the veterans' organisations.
    In other words, they knew they were going to be treated like us and were afraid.
  6. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

    Logan, Queensland, Australia
    Hi biophile, I think you are right, that appears to be the study, in particular this bit:

    And then in the conclusion:
    However, I recollect a different paper, on a similar topic. It could just be my memory - its kind of fubar.

    Bye, Alex

    PS My recollection is probably wrong, I recall it was DePaul university which I infered was Jason, and a major part of the topic was the discussion of the additional data sets that were added. I also recall it had something to do with an online addendum, and not the paper itself. This was a stastitical re-analysis which showed the study in question (not sure it was the same one as in Sampson) did not, after all, show benefit from CBT/GET. Does anyone else recollect this paper? Its 4 am Christmas morning and I just spent the last two hours looking for it. I really wish my memory worked like it used to.

    I do not recall reading the Stouten paper before, I don't think it was the one I was thinking of.
  7. *nod* :/
    Proves that the "psych whitewash" had become StandardOperatingProcedure, an established rotuine to cover up and let die, those who have suffered at the hands of government/Big Business.
    here ye go

  8. currer

    currer Senior Member

    Thanks for making that documentary availabe again Silverblade.

    I think it would be worthwhile for everyone to watch.

    I had a friend who was active in the campaign against the use of depleted uranium - which is used to harden missile cases by the British and American military and vapourises when they explode.

    It is no surprise that veterans and the Iraqi people (who have been bombed by us since the eighties as part of the sanctions against Saddam) are now suffering from birth defects and diseases caused by low level radioactivity.

    The significant thing about that documentary is that it reveals that whatever you do to other people comes back to you. We are utterly unable to protect our troops against the effects of the weapons we employ on others.

    So those chemical weapons in the arms dumps in Iraq had "made in the US" on them! Poisoned by your own country's industries!

    This is why "Gulf War Syndrome" will never be accepted - Our own governments and arms manufacturers have to avoid liability.

    No wonder GWS is psychologised and declared "too mysterious to understand". The Gulf War veterans are bing left to die and then the problem will be solved.
  9. currer

    currer Senior Member

    To get back to the subject of this thread, what will happen to the prostate cancer papers that found "XMRV?"

    If Paprotka is correct and XMRV is a lab created retrovirus, recently created, and passed into tissue samples as contamination - then it cannot be a cause of prostate cancer.

    So why is Silverman quoted as being in favour of this retraction? Wont he be next? Perhaps he has a reason not to think so. I'd like to know what that is.
    On the other hand the reports in Science are so biased and innaccurate I do not feel I can rely on them for the truth. It makes no sense.

    As far as the Lombardi retraction goes,there are no new reasons for this retraction of the whole Lombardi paper.
    The sequences that were specifically XMRV have already been retracted. Dr Mikovits has been saying repeatedly that she has found a much wider range of PMLVs in patients than the XMRV sequence, but these statements have been ignored, and the argument artificially restricted.

    With the publicity trumpeting around about this retraction I fear that further funding so study the association of MLVs and human disease will not be forthcoming, especially if the Lipkin study is inconclusive.

    This is not the best way to investigate a new finding and I am disappointed and demoralised by what I see of this mix of "science" and politics.

    Dr Lo has stated that his attempts to find PMLVs were fruitless until he replicated Mikovits procedures closely.
    The many negative papers relied on their own techniques to look for the virus. Because they did not replicate, they cannot disprove Mikovits findings, only show that their techniques could not result in a positive finding.

    Yet Mikovits work with Dr Snyderman has succeeded in showing that ARV treatments specifically effective against MLVs can lower abnormal blood counts and block the development of malignancy in someone with both CFS and cancer.

    Are we to turn away from the possibility of treating cancer because of fears of what this may reveal?
    There must be a good reason for this therapeutic action yet who will be brave enough to research it now? Only the petients will suffer from this - profit can still be amply made from business as usual in the drug and cancer industries.
  10. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

    Very interesting - thanks currer.
  11. Firestormm


    Cornwall England
    22 December 2011: TIME:

    The Chronic Fatigue Retraction: Good Science Takes Time

    It was a long time coming: a journal retracts a controversial 2009 paper linking a virus to chronic fatigue. The good news? Faulty data can't hide.

    '...A day after the re-analysis and partial retraction were published in Science, however, Mikovits defended her original results in front of an international conference of experts in chronic fatigue, arguing that the disease was caused by a virus highly related to XMRV.

    It wasnt enough to convince the experts or the editors at Science. On Thursday, the journal decided to retract the paper completely, saying [PDF] that Science has lost confidence in the report and the validity of its conclusions and that the journal regret the time and resources that the scientific community has devoted to unsuccessful attempts to replicate these results.

    Its always regrettable when science goes wrong, but not always avoidable. While journals like Science conduct rigorous reviews of the data submitted by potential authors, both with experts and non-experts in field, short of re-doing every experiment, at some point, the reviewers must trust that the information provided in submissions is accurate.

    Its not clear what went wrong with the XMRV work in question, but there is solace in one thing, both for scientists and for patients who rely on the results of their work: the scientific field is a community of peers who rely on, replicate and share each others work, and that community can help reveal cases when the data arent solid, or, in the worst cases, when theyre fraudulent.

    In 2006, Science was forced to retract the results of South Korean scientist Woo Suk Hwang, who claimed to have perfected the cloning process in human cells. When other researchers brought to the editors attention problems with the cell images appearing in Hwangs groundbreaking study, it was revealed that Hwangs cloned cells were fake. (They had in fact arisen from a well-established and familiar technique.)

    Since that incident, editors at journals like Science and Nature have taken a hard look at the way they review submissions for publication, in particular those that are rushed into issues in an effort to be first to print. Science, especially good science, takes time.'

    Think I missed this one previously.
  12. Firestormm


    Cornwall England
    Hi Currer,

    This seems to be doing the rounds at the moment re: XMRV and Prostate Cancer:

    'Next generation sequencing of prostate tumours provides independent evidence of XMRV contamination'

    Not much to go on without seeing the full paper (and I know zilch about NGS) but the other place have a thread running:,10793.0.html

    Not that, obviously, it has anything to do with this thread per se or is necessarily a 'good' paper, but it perhaps suggests that others are indeed looking at the 'XMRV in PC' discoveries?
  13. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

    Logan, Queensland, Australia
    It is clear that XMRV in CFS or ME and in prostate cancer will fall together if its contamination. It is also possible, though yet to be proven, that contamination has confounded real results. Labs that are working on XMRV or related viruses might have too much contamination to be reliable - but if the virus is a close relative then the contamination could be from human sources. We need better techniques, PCR is useless in this endeavour, and I hope next generation sequencing is it. I too know very little about NGS, I think I will have to spend a week or two doing research at some point. Bye, Alex

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