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Science asks authors to retract XMRV/CFS paper

Discussion in 'Media, Interviews, Blogs, Talks, Events about XMRV' started by Nielk, May 30, 2011.

  1. eric_s

    eric_s Senior Member

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    I don't want to be paranoid, but can we be sure the Lipkin and BWG results will be representative of the actual facts? They could go wrong for whatever reasons.

    I think one has to see that a lot of strange things have happened so far in the unfolding of this story. So can we really be sure and trust the results? We should, because they will most likely have a lot of impact.

    I hope the people involved will think about these things.
     
  2. acer2000

    acer2000 Senior Member

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    Has anyone even read the study by Levy yet? Did he use the same methods as in the 2009 study? The press release says "similar methods". We all know at this point, "similar" just doesn't cut it. If he used different methodology this study only adds to the confusion and doesn't solve anything.
     
  3. Jemal

    Jemal Senior Member

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    I think the NCI are pretty much done with XMRV. The second study in Science was done by one of their teams.

    http://www.cancer.gov/newscenter/pressreleases/2011/XMRVrecombination
     
  4. liquid sky

    liquid sky Senior Member

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    What exactly is the PR approach of the WPI and since when has that been a reason to retract a paper? Kinda like, excuse me, but I don't like your tone, so we are going to trash your paper. This is not junior high school, or is it?
     
  5. Dorothy

    Dorothy

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    I am wondering if there's any significance to the fact that these two new papers and the request for retraction came out just before the International Conference on Human Retroviruses (June 5-8). I would think that this would certainly affect discussion of XMRV at the conference, to put it mildly. Dr. Mikovits' work was included in the list of abstracts for the conference. The list of abstracts was posted on this forum earlier at

    http://forums.phoenixrising.me/show...nternational-Conference-on-Human-Retroviruses


    Some of these abstracts sounded pretty hopeful. Does anybody know if this conference carries much weight or status in the scientific community, similar to the CROI conference? It would be nice if positive studies or evidence that XMRV is NOT a lab contaminant or recombinant got the some publicity as negative studies.
     
  6. anncavan

    anncavan

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    It is simply my opinion that Science has a lot of weight, and this brash action to retract the Lombardi et al paper is wreckless. There are too many pieces of research coming down the pike. This flippant decision and use of their weight in the medical community will affect funding as well as doctors willing to enter the ring.

    A facebook page has been started in support of Lombardi et al, in an effort to show Science the support behind continued XMRV research. If intersted, "like" this page:

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/...-Retraction-of-Lombardi-et-al/134502569957481
     
  7. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Interesting...does the word "whoppers" have the same meanings in the US as it does in the UK, I wonder? ;)
     
  8. penny

    penny Senior Member

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whoppers

    At least one definition ;)
     
  9. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    I don't know but based on this comment I am hoping not...:)
     
  10. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    If we just look at the healthy controls by themselves I think we can throw out the cohort problem for now. Whatever CFS cohort the labs are studying they should still be finding the background levels of XMRV the Lombardi paper asserted was present in the rest of the population. If they were finding say, 20% of XMRV in the patients - then I think you could say it was a cohort problem...but with the zero percent findings - its got to be a methodological/lab problem. Yes, cohorts could be a issue at some point but I don't think they are at this point. The problem is simply finding XMRV in somebody, patients or healthy controls.
     
  11. eric_s

    eric_s Senior Member

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    http://ccr.cancer.gov/staff/staff.asp?profileid=5488
    http://www.hetalternatief.org/XMRV 2011 866.htm
    I don't think they're done.
     
  12. ixchelkali

    ixchelkali Senior Member

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    I think you misread this. The WSJ article says "In one paper 61 patients treated for chronic syndrome in the practice of Dan Peterson a Whittemore Peterson Institute namesake were tested for XMRV." And the paper itself says "The first [patient cohort] consisted of 41 CFS patients ranging in age from 5 years to 73 years who came from a private medical practice (Sierra Internal Medicine, Incline Village Nevada)." It goes on to say that 37 of the 41 had been tested for XMRV by WPI or VIPdx, and that 26 were reported positive. Also, "The second population came from the same medical practice and subjects were selected largely on the basis of a previous positive diagnosis for XMRV infection." And if I read it correctly 19 of the samples from the first cohort had their blood drawn twice at the same time, by the same phlebotomist, with one sample sent to them (Wisconsin Viral Research Group) and the other sent to VIPdx.


    Since several of the patients in this study were also tested by the WPI, and since they were from Dan Peterson's practice, I think we can say that the difference in outcome wasn't due to a cohort problem.
     
  13. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    Have people figured out they've been scammed yet? Or is the denial still too strong? How much more evidence is needed, with dozens of negative paper and essentially only one positive paper - from the people who are making money from a positive paper, what a coincidence. :rolleyes:

    Research needs to go into the mitochondrial & cellular energy/ATP production defects that are DOCUMENTED in ME/CFS and the interplay with the immune system dysfunctions that are also DOCUMENTED. XRMV is a red herring at best - a minor player if at all that would only be significant if it did play a part in CFS because of the already existing mito & neurommimune dysfunction. Better just to cut your losses and move on. Putting all your eggs in the XMRV basket is only going to delay the disappointment further.
     
  14. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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  15. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Although I basically agree with this analysis, there is more to it also. As we've seen with the group that detected XMRV in lab workers and then recalibrated their test to remove those presumed false positives, and as we've also seen when Dr Singh's "very confusing" results after unblinding evolved into a less confusing "0/0" after 6 months of analysis, the calibration (and re-calibration) of any test for a poorly-understood pathogen is crucial. What counts as a negative and what counts as a positive is the very question you need to "bootstrap" before you can even get started. How you decide to draw those lines is going to be crucial, and if you have a well-defined cohort of people who are largely XMRV+, that will make that calibration much easier.
     
  16. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Hanson, Ruscetti, Silverman, Lo, Alter, De Meirleir, IrsaCaixa, and the whole of the Lombardi team all appear to be behind the findings of Lombardi et al. Blomberg et al detected XMRV in a sample provided by the WPI. Several groups have detected XMRV and other MLVs in association with ME/CFS. Most of that research has not been published, but it wouldn't be accurate to suggest that it is only the WPI who have been reporting finding XMRV in association with human disease - the preceding list does not even include all the researchers who found it in prostate cancer, nor Fischer et al in Germany who found it in the respiratory tracts of immune-compromised patients. Every time it's falsely asserted that it's only the WPI who claim to find XMRV, that just adds to the anger and the strong sense of unfairness and dishonesty that the WPI's supporters have become accustomed to.

    Agreed that research should definitely go into these subjects, not least because retroviral activity would be likely to be associated with the defects you describe. But is it an either/or? Is the money going into XMRV research actually money that would otherwise have been spent on other ME/CFS research? Do you really think that when researchers "move on" from XMRV, somebody will begin to study these issues instead? Fantasyland. One thing I've learnt from the last 2 years: as soon as there's a credible risk that the illness that afflicts us might be contagious, and might be capable of spreading to others and infecting the healthy population, all of a sudden there is plenty of money available to disprove those ideas. Once they've been disproved, everybody can get back to their nice comfortable lives and resume their policy of completely ignoring our illness. It seems that almost nobody is in the least bit interested in our supposedly trivial condition until they begin to fear it might possibly affect them - at which point they are suddenly terrified enough to produce more money than our researchers can dream of.

    Unless you have evidence of any prospect of ME/CFS ever being researched at levels commensurate with the numbers of people affected and the seriousness of the condition - which is to say, annual budgets in the hundreds of millions rather than the hundreds of thousands - then XMRV remains our best hope for research, even now. And if XMRV hasn't raised any awareness in the scientific community of the seriousness and prevalence of ME/CFS, and of the well-documented immune abnormalities involved, then I don't know what could.
     
  17. Bob

    Bob

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  18. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    Completely disagree with that view. With so little research funding available, that's precisely why it should go into more promising lines of research, some of which I outlined above, avenues that Gordon Broderick are taking, etc. Not wild goose chases for a retrovirus that almost no one but the original researchers can find.

    How many papers show XMRV positive?

    Now how many show XMRV negative?

    A little bit lopsided, isn't it?

    So in essence it is really is either/or, b/c w/ so little out there, the more that goes to dubious XMRV claims the less that goes to the actual biological causes, the effects of which are already known to exist in patient after patient, replicated in study after study (NK function, cytotoxic function, TH1/TH2 imbalance, etc.)

    I remember when the benevolent "molly" and her cohort (whose name I forget ATM) were here pushing stem cells: she was "cured" with them, she can get a "special rate," only $10,000, etc. I get the same feeling here. Someone's getting the money, and who is getting the results? No one in the CFS community that I can see. We're being led around by our noses b/c a questionable study that is now all but retracted probably had some contaminated samples and ran with it. Didn't hurt them financially at all, did it? But whomever shelled out 10 grand for stem cells for little to no benefit now has 10 grand less for any future potential therapies.

    Sorry, but the entire thing seems like a scam to me. Maybe not originally intentional, but perhaps a little sketchy in its perpetuation.
     
  19. Bob

    Bob

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    Yes, it is a bit lopsided, but that's irrelevant. The WPI's study is still valid, which is why is hasn't been forcibly or voluntarily retracted.
    When carrying out cutting edge science, and looking for a novel retrovirus (only the third known human retrovirus) then things might not go according to expectations whilst the knowledge is built up about the subject.
    There might be very good reasons why so many researchers cannot detect XMRV in the blood using established technologies and methodologies.
    I think that retroviruses might be tricky little beasts!

    As for the WPI making money, I don't think that's true. I believe that the Whittemores have poured loads of money into WPI, without expecting to ever recover their investment. The only income they have, that I'm aware of, is from the VIPdx lab, but that is very little, and they say that they don't make any profit on that.
     
  20. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    Many of those negative studies were very sloppy--they used, for example, samples which had been frozen and rethawed multiple times, didn't bother to use any controls at all, and so forth. Science is not decided by a vote tally. Early science, especially in a new field, is often filled with contradictions and apparent paradoxes. We've been told to wait, to let the science take its course. This is good advice, which the journal Science would be well-advised to take.

    The real scam here would be if XMRV research was stopped prematurely. At this point we don't know for sure what, if anything, XMRV is and means. Maybe it's important, maybe it's not. We don't know. We need to know, one way or the other. This decade, preferably within the year, not next century.

    We need more research. What we do know is that there is no contamination theory which can adequately explain WPI's results. None of the reagents they used were the same as the reagents used by those who found contamination (why didn't anyone else, other than Lo et al., use WPI's recommended reagents? there is no satisfactory answer to that). They ran their own multiple tests... they ran all the tests everyone else suggested later. No test showed any evidence of contamination. None whatsoever. They had never previously used any cells which could have provided 22RV1 or anything like that.

    Read the whole story, please:
    http://www.wpinstitute.org/news/docs/FinalreplytoScienceWPI.pdf

    After there has been more study, there will be time for conclusions. That time is not now.
     

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