1. Patients launch a $1.27 million crowdfunding campaign for ME/CFS gut microbiome study.
    Check out the website, Facebook and Twitter. Join in donate and spread the word!
ME/CFS and Beating the Clock
For Jody Smith, the ticking of a clock was enough at one time to chase her back to her bed. But with the passage of time, she has been able to reclaim her living room ...
Discuss the article on the Forums.

Ruscetti Acknowledges Reuse of WB Image

Discussion in 'XMRV Research and Replication Studies' started by joshualevy, Oct 4, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. joshualevy

    joshualevy

    Messages:
    46
    Likes:
    21
    Wow! Ruscetti just confirmed ERV's information that the same slide was used twice, to show two different things!
    Here is the story: http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/10/xmrv-researcher-fired.html
    And here is the quote:

    Mikovits's collaborator, Francis Ruscetti of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Frederick, Maryland, who ran all of the Western blots, confirms that the Ottawa slide uses the same image that appears in Lombardi et al.

    Even worse, Ruscetti says that the Conference image was closer to the original than the Science image. But Ruscetti and Mikovits say that it wasn't fraud, because they witheld some information on their protocol from the Science paper, so they were not lying when the labeled the conference image. Quote is below:

    As far as the use of 5-Azacytidine, Ruscetti and Mikovits stressed in their e-mail that "there was no attempt in the original paper to hide anything." They say for the purposes of Lombardi et al., the use of 5-Azacytidine was not germane: They were simply trying to demonstrate that CFS patients had viral proteins not seen in controls. By the time of the Ottawa meeting, they say they realized that this experiment did not in fact show XMRV but proteins from a broader family of gammaretroviruses.​

    So what they are saying now is:
    1. We were really sloppy with the image.
    2. We didn't report properly on the use of 5-Azacytidine in the science paper, even though it was an important part of our protocol.
    3. But it's not fraud.

    They might be right on that last point (if they are telling the truth), but in terms of their credibility, it's completely destructive.

    V99 and Angela, are you going to apologies to ERV now? In the end, she was right about that image.

    Joshua (not Jay!) Levy
  2. floydguy

    floydguy Senior Member

    Messages:
    650
    Likes:
    238
    Joshua - fyi this isn't a debating exercise. I feel like to you, Eco, and ERV think this is some kind of academic exercise or contest as to who has the biggest you know what. To many of us this is literally life and death. More gravitas would be appreciated. Thanks!
    Roy S, Nina, leela and 3 others like this.
  3. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member

    Messages:
    627
    Likes:
    103
    England
    Joshua, I draw your attention to your statement "Even worse, Ruscetti says that the Conference image was closer to the original than the Science image."

    As ERV's arguement is that the 2 images are identical......can you spot the obvious logical error here?

    I'd also suggest you re-read the section you have quoted, as you seem to be misinterpeting it quite a lot if you actually believe it implies what you've posted.
    Roy S, Nina, leela and 3 others like this.
  4. joshualevy

    joshualevy

    Messages:
    46
    Likes:
    21
    Ruscetti said that the labeling in the conference image is closer to the original than the labeling of the science image. In particular, it had the original patient numbers. Also, the 5-Azacytidine that was in the conference image but not in the science image, should be there.

    Images are the same, labeling is different (that's the whole issue). And the labeling for the conference is closer to the truth than the one in the paper.

    If you think I've misinterpreted anything, then please be specific about it.

    Joshua (not Jay!) Levy
    Firestormm and dannybex like this.
  5. citybug

    citybug Senior Member

    Messages:
    522
    Likes:
    36
    NY
    The main thing it implies is that there is a family of MLV retroviruses infecting humans which Mikovits and Ruschetti and Alter and Lo have been saying since last summer that need broader testing methods.
    ukxmrv likes this.
  6. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member

    Messages:
    627
    Likes:
    103
    England
    Reinterpreting evidence in light of further information is common, it's how science is supposed to work, using the same data as was used to justify an initial hypothesis to backup a more eleborate form of the same (or even a different) hypothesis doesnt mean the first hypothesis was fraudulent, it simply means it was superceded by a, hopefully better, one. If you cant understand that then......

    You appear to be jumping up and down in glee, thinking that Ruscetti (initally someone you seem to trust statements from) has said something that supports your position that JM and FR are incompitent at best and probably frauds, although why you would trust ANY staement from someone you seem to doubt the integrety of is beyond me. If you trust him then you should trust his assertion that everything is above board, if you dont how do his statements backup your position?

    I also dont see what the big deal over 5-Azacytidine is, if the people who designed the protcol decided it wasnt a relevant factor to the hypothesis they were advancing in the Science paper who are you to decide otherwise. If based on subsequent work they then decide that it be was relevant, as they modified their hypothesis, how does that invalidate the original work? Or to be more blunt, how does it make the orginal work fraudulent?
    ukxmrv likes this.
  7. Sam Carter

    Sam Carter Guest

    Messages:
    296
    Likes:
    184
    The key point surely, SOC, is that patients and controls were handled differently and this wasn't disclosed in the paper.

    If 5-Azacytidine makes it easier to detect XMRV proteins then treating patient but not control samples with it will bias the experiment in favour of the hypothesis that XMRV is associated with ME.
  8. joshualevy

    joshualevy

    Messages:
    46
    Likes:
    21
    But we know that did not happen in this case, because they changed the labels on the slides. If they were just reinterpreting, then they would have used the same slides (same information), but had different textual description (different interpretation of those slides) to explain what was going on. By changing the labels, they were trying to change the data, not the interpretation. (Obviously, the patient numbers are not part of the interpretation of anything, so why change those?)

    For that particular action, I think the term "scientific misconduct" would be better than "fraudulent". Remember that the whole point of a scientific paper, is so that others can run the experiment themselves and get the same results. So if you don't describe the experiment you really ran, then it could be considered "scientific misconduct". If you hide part of your procedure or lie about it, for example. So if the original experimenters used 5-aza (or anything else) and did not report it, that's a serious problem. Also, I'm pretty sure they claimed that the experiment was done double blind; that the researchers didn't know which samples came from CFS/ME and which from controls. But if one group got 5-aza and other group did not, well then: the experiment was not double blinded (at least not for some of the researchers). So that would be another serious problem, that goes directly to their credibility. Especially since, one of their most important points, repeated over and over, was that they saw XMRV in patients but not controls. But if the researchers were not double-blind, or if the two groups were treated with different chemicals (like 5-aza), that's an obvious explanation.

    In a sense, they are claiming that they did not properly describe their procedure in order to make people believe that they did not misrepresent their results. It's the scientific version of pleading to a lessor crime to avoid a more serious one. Not a good position to be in.

    In another sense, it doesn't matter exactly what words are used. Their credibility is gone.

    Joshua (not Jay!) Levy
    Firestormm likes this.
  9. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member

    Messages:
    627
    Likes:
    103
    England
    On that only, we agree
  10. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,967
    Likes:
    5,514
    USA
    So you're not buying this statement?
    Quite possibly I don't understand what you're getting at, Sam. :D I thought it was already established that the association of XMRV with ME was not proved by the Science paper.

    Joshua is claiming in the headline of this thread "Ruscetti Confirms ERV's Blog" I doubt Ruscetti would agree with that statement of his position.

    I don't see that ERV's (or Joshua's) innuendos of scientific malfeasance are justified by this new information. That's what I was getting at.
    ukxmrv likes this.
  11. ixchelkali

    ixchelkali Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,105
    Likes:
    263
    Long Beach, CA
    Thanks for posting the link. I'm glad to hear Ruscetti and Mikovits' explanation. To me, the explanation of the different labels on the Ottawa slide is plausible, but not mentioning the use of 5-Azacytidine in the original paper is troubling. Especially after its publication, when there were questions about the methodology.

    If it was just a couple of positive samples that they applied 5-Azacytidine to, for purposes of illustration, I still think it's odd to say it was "not germane" to mention it. But afterwards, when the accusations of contamination started coming in, Dr. Mikovits said that if it was contamination, it should have appeared in controls in equal rates as patients, because she said they had handled the samples the same way. That made sense to me, and made the contamination charges less believeable. But this sounds as though they applied 5-Azacytidine only to patient samples. Even if they were doing it just for illustration, shouldn't it have been done to patient and control samples equally? Otherwise, it doesn't show that gammaretroviruses occur in patients MORE than in controls; without that, you have no disease association.

    Am I missing something here?
    Firestormm likes this.
  12. Sam Carter

    Sam Carter Guest

    Messages:
    296
    Likes:
    184
    It isn't credible, SOC. If the viral proteins are not seen in controls you need to demonstrate this by treating patients and controls identically.
    Firestormm likes this.
  13. leaves

    leaves Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,193
    Likes:
    14
    Just wanted to say; Thank you guys for this productive and intelligent discussion; very good arguments on both sides.
    Wildcat likes this.
  14. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,967
    Likes:
    5,514
    USA
    This one? I don't think so....

    I think you are having a different discussion with me from the one I'm having with you, lol!

    I'm not arguing for or against the Science paper itself. I believe that the research does not support an association between XMRV and ME. This was confirmed (in my mind) by the BWG results.

    Yes, the Lombardi, et al paper presented an association, but I believe that more recent evidence leaves the hypothesis in Unproved status. That's what I meant by "the association of XMRV with ME was not proved by the Science paper". They hypothesized an association and the data they had at the time seemed to support the hypothesis. That's not proof, it's data. Later research did not support that the hypothesis, so the hypothesis remains Unproved. One paper does not proof make.

    I'm talking about ERV's (and Joshua's) claims of deliberate malfeasance on the part of Drs Mikovitz and Ruscetti. I think the article Joshua quoted at the beginning of this thread does not support ERV's and Joshua's claims. Instead, it explains the circumstances of similar figures in different presentations in a reasonable way.

    ;) I know I'm mentally exhausted.
    ukxmrv likes this.
  15. ixchelkali

    ixchelkali Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,105
    Likes:
    263
    Long Beach, CA
    See, this is what disturbs me, because it seems part of a pattern in the history of ME/CFS research. When someone publishes a paper in support of a viral cause of ME/CFS (especially a retrovirus), it seems like its not enough to refute the hypothesis. The researcher has to be completely discredited, stomped on, publicly humiliated and castigated, preferably to the point of never doing research again. And if they can be accused of malfeasance, so much the better. This has happened several times, and it's not science as usual.

    And then they have the nerve to say that scientists are reluctant to research ME/CFS because the patients are cranky and noisy.
    ukxmrv, Wildcat and Nina like this.
  16. leela

    leela Slow But Hopeful

    Messages:
    2,367
    Likes:
    2,689
    Couchland, USA
    Ruscetti confirms no such thing!

    Ruscetti confirms no such thing! confirmed ONLY is that the slides are the same, and for good reason!
    Ruscetti does NOT confirm FRAUD. He does NOT confirm the right to abuse and demean fellow scientists as Abbie has done wantonly.

    The title of this thread is misleading and I am contacting a moderator to change it.

    I have HAD it with this grandstanding and interpolation of information! Not helping anyone!
    ukxmrv, LaurieM, busybee and 4 others like this.
  17. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,642
    Likes:
    9,720
    Logan, Queensland, Australia
    Hi, Some seem worried about the different treatment of controls from patients. Let me draw attention to the ScienceInsider quote:

    "Mikovits described how she had treated cells from two CFS patients with a chemical, 5-Azacytidine, that takes methyl groups off DNA."

    The bolding is mine. The facts are only coming out slowly and too many are leaping to unsubstantiated conclusions, either for or against various points of view.

    Two patients tested differently? My guess is this was a test of an idea that they weren't sure about but ran anyway. Since it was only two patients it was way too small to include as any kind of evidence in the Science paper and was quite rightly omitted in my view. If scientists had to explain everything in minute detail then they might as well be submitting video logs of everything they do. This was not a significant factor at the time of publication of the Lombardi paper.

    Later on they realized this could be important, which is why I think it was mentioned in Ottawa. Since this is minor evidence it is more proper to discuss this at a conference than in a major paper.

    This whole episode is a non-event blown up to something major by media coverage. If there is a problem then the investigation by Science will uncover it, and I trust them more than I do unsubstantiated accusations. Wait for their report.

    The real news is that Dr. Judy Mikovits is no longer with the WPI. This has real ramifications. This includes changes made to the research capacity at the WPI and issues over research rights.

    Bye
    Alex
  18. shannah

    shannah Senior Member

    Messages:
    832
    Likes:
    156
    Alex,

    I've followed all of this unfolding but have had difficulty understanding this whole situation and piecing it all together. Your explanation makes sense.

    Thanks for your take on this.
  19. Ecoclimber

    Ecoclimber Senior Member

    Messages:
    587
    Likes:
    886
    Mercer Island Wa
    SLIDE 13

    Slide 13 L.jpg

    I couldn't pull the other slide that was posted but this is from the original Slide 13 when click on the image and hit reset in Power Point from the Ottawa conference FYI

    Enjoy

    Eco
  20. joshualevy

    joshualevy

    Messages:
    46
    Likes:
    21
    Well, the Ottawa conferences was something like 2 years after the Lombardi paper. So your theory is that the made a first draft of the slide, and then a later draft was used in Lombardi, and then two years later, they mistakenly used the earlier draft in putting together the presentation for Ottawa? Does that sound likely to you? It seems really, really unlikely to me. I suppose it's possible. If you are really desperate to construct a chain of events where the mistake is one of sloppiness and not malfeasance, maybe it is the best you can do. It's the exact opposite of Occam's razor.

    Remember that there were at least two types of labels that were all changed. The patient numbers, I agree are pretty meaningless. But the 5-aza labels are very important. And I think there was a third label, but am not sure.

    Joshua (not Jay!) Levy
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page