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XMRV: Lo et al paper retracted by author

Discussion in 'Media, Interviews, Blogs, Talks, Events about XMRV' started by Firestormm, Dec 26, 2011.

  1. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    For a year now, there have been rumours going round the patient websites from those who know better than me, that research into MLVs and human infection was going to be stopped and "XMRV" recreated as a human endogenous retrovirus.

    So it has always been there in our genome, and it is just some idiosyncracy in us that leads to illness.

    Our fault, no-one else's!
  2. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2011/12/27/second-high-profile-xmrv-related-paper-retracted/

    A second high-profile paper in the long-running XMRV saga has been retracted, although an NIH study looking at the issue will continue.

    The paper in question, published in August of 2010 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at the blood of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and healthy blood donors. The authors, which include NIH infectious-disease specialist Harvey Alter, found a family of retroviruses called MLV-like viruses in 32 of 37 patients with CFS, as well as in three of 44 healthy blood donors.

    Although the PNAS paper did not find XMRV, it was seen by many as supporting the finding of a link between CFS and XMRV (which is in the same family of retroviruses described in the PNAS paper) reported in an earlier paper authored by a different group of scientists and published in Science. That journals editors retracted that paper last week, saying they no longer believed its conclusions were valid.

    The retraction statement for the PNAS study, signed by all the papers authors, said that the published findings were reproducible in the authors labs, and that there had been no evidence of contamination in the testing or the blood samples. But mounting data from further studies in the authors labs as well as from other studies that do not consistently demonstrate an association between MLV and CFS mean that any association is now viewed as tenuous and that the paper should be retracted.

    The statement cited a number of concerns, including an insufficient number of original CFS patient samples to distribute to independent labs for more testing. It also cited a September paper by the Blood XMRV Scientific Research Working Group that found nine labs including one of the labs involved in the PNAS paper testing for XMRV or evidence of XMRV infection in the blood of CFS patients and healthy donors either didnt find the retrovirus or couldnt reproduce their findings.

    Randy Schekman,who was the editor of PNAS when the paper was published, tells the Health Blog that in late September, after the working groups results were published and the authors of the Science paper issued a partial retraction of some of their data, he reached out to Alter to express his concerns.

    Alter said that they had not found any evidence of contamination, but acknowledged that that they lacked enough original CFS patient samples to do additional testing.

    At that point, Schekman says he said some sort of statement needed to be made. When the editors and scientists read it, Schekman says they realized it amounted to a retraction.

    The retraction of the two key XMRV-related papers puts the spotlight on one remaining study: a large NIH-funded project directed by virus hunter Ian Lipkin. This study is taking new samples from CFS patients and healthy people in different locations around the country and looking for evidence of retroviruses and other viruses.

    When the Health Blog asked Lipkin whether the latest retractions would derail that study the results of which are expected in 2012 he wrote, I cant keep track of who is retracting what. Editors are at odds with authors who are frequently at odds with one another.

    Lipkin added that there will be an opportunity to explore hypotheses other than that the disease is due to XMRV or MLV infection.

    He said that all the scientists and doctors involved in the NIH study including Alter, and other co-authors of the retracted PNAS and Science papers are committed to completing this study because none of us believes that the issue of retroviral infection in CFS/ME is resolved.
  3. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Amy Docker Marcus had this to say (http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2011/12/27/second-high-profile-xmrv-related-paper-retracted/):

    The Lipkin study if it should go ahead will the be deciding feature. If its negative, fair enough. If it finds something it will have to counter disbelief all over again.

    Bye, Alex
  4. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I wish these retractions had come after the results from Lipkin's blinded study, but I'm not surprised by them either. It's in the interest of the journals to disassociate themselves with controversial results which they believe are in error, and the evidence has been stacking up against Mikovits's claims for some time.
  5. floydguy

    floydguy Senior Member

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    Yes, journals seem unwilling to take on anything controversial - not good for business, you know. Not sure how much "evidence" has to do with it.
  6. xrayspex

    xrayspex Senior Member

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    Currer, seems we have similar social analysis on whats going on with retrovirus studies and CFS.

    Interestingly when we found out I have sjogrens and I was telling my doc that I seem to get more dental problems than I feel I should because i take excellent care of my teeth and my friends who don't even floss may not get any cavities and I get root canals....He said "genetics" regarding getting the sjogrens and being vulnerable to tooth decay. I agree with you,too much emphasis on genetics in case of CFS and autoimmune etc takes the system off the hook of trying to figure out the environmental/pathogen piece of the puzzle. grrrrrr...
  7. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    I wonder why Prostate cancer research and "XMRV" seems to be an exception to the retractions.

    Could it be that those making these decisions to block research into other diseases have prostates of their own?? and would like health care if they get sick?
  8. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    Esther, scientific journals exist to publish peer reviewed scientific studies and then leave the ensuing controversy to science to sort out, not to publish only "consensus" science.

    Science progresses by falsifying previous truths. this is how we find out things we did not know before. It is not supposed to remain in agreement with itself.

    This makes some personalities who dislike disagreement, uncomfortable, but this is the way it is done. You will get no new understanding, only dogma, if challenges to prior certainties are blocked.
    Science is not like getting on with other people where it is necessary to bend the truth in order not to offend or hurt someone.

    You know Esther, before this I still believed that most research was done and published in good faith. These forced retractions have now made me doubt everything that gets into research journals because of the evidence of the ease with which editors can be manipulated. Is this a good thing?

  9. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    If you read between the lines in the reports on the "retraction" of the Lo study it is pretty clear that the editor wanted the retraction and Lo and Alter still feel they found valid results.

    How scientific is this?
  10. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    No. The papers were crap. The papers are retracted. If someone comes up with another theory that holds up in an experiment etc. they will publish another paper. It is the end for the papers Currer and not the end for any future 'associations' with a retrovirus, virus, et al.
  11. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    Hi firestormm,

    Can you please give me the link or reference to show that the prostate cancer papers are retracted?

    As far as I know, Silverman and Singh's research is unaffected by the forced retractions of the CFS/ME papers claiming "XMRV" and PMLVs as contamination.

    Are XMRV and PMLVs also contamination in prostate cancer research?
    If not, why not?

    If they are not contamination in PC then HGRVs exist, do they not?
    So where did these murine leukaemia viruses come from and how did they cross into humans as a pathogen?

    Please can you post up the reference to show the prostate cancer research has been retracted if this is what you are claiming in your previous post.

    Thanks.

    PS What future viral association do you suggest? Immune profiling suggests MLVs as a cause, and viral microarray techniques showed positive to MLVs in both prostate cancer research and CFS research before any "contamination" issues got started.

    Anything - as long as it is not MLV related?
  12. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    I do apologise Currer. My comment above was meant to be attached to this comment of yours.

    Edit:

    I will add this - for what its' worth - IF the 'Lipkin Study' provides some evidence for MLV association then that paper will also be subjected to scientific scrutiny.

    'Will results from one laboratory clear the matter up further? Whatever the Lipkin study finds, it will have to be validated by others because we trust science, not scientists.' Racaniello.

    I realise that perhaps you believe both papers that were retracted were done for 'political' reasons Currer; but I am afraid I do not share this view.

    I might not understand all the science but because I don't understand it all doesn't mean I need to resort to conspiracy theories.
  13. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I would expect so.

    There probably were political elements to the decision to retract the CFS papers, but that's not remotely the same as their being any sort of cover-up, or any disinterest in a possible association between CFS and MRVs. CFS is a more controversial diagnosis than PC, and there's been much more heat around the possible link between CFS and XMRV - I expect that there would be less of a push for retraction on the XMRV/PC papers, because those papers, although likely to have been in error, have had far less of a social and medical impact. eg: I've got the impression that virologists are disproportionately concerned about the few reports of CFS patients trying ARVs, and there haven't been any comparable reports of PC patients doing the same.
  14. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    Silverman has been reported as being in favour of the XMRV / CFS retraction.

    And yet the published reasons for this retraction also equally undermine his PC work. Paprotka especially.

    You have to have scientific evidence for a retraction of a scientific paper, Esther, you cannot do it for political reasons.!!!
    Or to protect patients from taking ARVs unwisely.
    So who is doing this "push" you talk about? Dont you worry who that might be? Who would have this right to pull research they do not approve of?
  15. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    I believe all the negative publicity is designed to block funding - whatever Lipkin finds.
  16. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I don't think that there is any universal, objective standard for retraction. A lot of the scientific process is a botch, and that can cause problems, but that doesn't mean it's 'unscientific' or anything.
  17. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    At this point, I'd be amazed if Mikovits or Ruscetti were able to distinguish between CFS and healthy control samples, but if they did, the study is so well designed that such a finding would need to be taken seriously.
  18. xrayspex

    xrayspex Senior Member

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    I haven't read news about other diseases and research around them like I have with CFS--I am curious, is it common for researchers to be so energized and vocal around what meds patients with difficult diseases try experimentally? Its been so odd to me that some researchers have been so vehmently against CFSers taking ARVs. Why do they give a rip? Like someone recently posted at this forum or another cfs one-- they are giving pg women in AFrica ARV's prophylactically to prevent AIDs, its an experiment, and have been no horrible results.....it seems obvious that there is a viral connection to many chronic illnesses.......heaven forbid if some people find out they feel better with antivirals of some sort. Dr Snyderman makes some good points around this at Dr Deckhoff Jones blog.
  19. biophile

    biophile Places I'd rather be.

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    The prostate cancer researchers did not have the BWG equivalent to cast doubt on them, but yes, if the same arguments apply to them then there should be retractions if Lombardi et al and Lo et al had to retract. The double standards due to the "social impact" makes sense but is unscientific. I think that politics has definitely been involved, as always is when ME/CFS in involved. However if I was forced to place a significant sum of money I would not bet on there being some coverup or conspiracy, although if such a conspiracy was uncovered and heads were going to roll, I would want to be in the angry mob. After discussing with a friend, he/we arrived at a possible alternative scenario: there was always going to be an attempt to bury/downplay/delay the retroviral association as much as possible regardless of the reality but this time they got lucky with the evidence for contamination etc.
  20. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    Speculation either way is not science.

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