WPI Throws the Gauntlet Down

View attachment 852 Yes, the WPI has been frustrated, and sometimes vocally so, regarding the inability of the three XMRV studies to validate the original Science study results. Yesterday, in a surprise announcement Annette Whittemore threw the gauntlet down, so to speak. For sure she did it politely but her proposal that Dr. McClure, one of the co-authors of the Imperial College study, accept the WPIs help in learning how to find XMRV was the equivalent of a glove slap across the face. In the course of her letter we suspect that the WPI is frustrated at more than the study results; they feel theyve been done wrongly, that trust was returned with a cold shoulder, and that breaches of professional etiquette have occurred.

Dr. Mikovits previously reported that the WPI had extensive discussions with the Groom group regarding how difficult it was to find the virus. In Annettes letter we learned that the collaboration went much deeper than this. It turned out that both the Groom and Kuppenveld groups sent samples to the WPI -samples which the WPI found were positive for XMRV. After that there was apparently silence - it seems that the next thing the WPI heard from the UK was that there was no XMRV in UK ME/CFS patients.

Its a puzzling situation; the samples were presumably sent to the WPI so that Groom and Kuppenfeld could check the efficacy of their procedures - a not surprising step given the newness of the virus and the fact that researchers were searching for it for the first time in the blood. In fact, in his talk with Dr. Raccaniello, Dr. Goff stated he was amazed that no one had yet shared samples and he chalked that up to fact that they had not had time in their rush to publish. Now we learn that samples were being shared - but not being reported- and that the results indicated that both groups ability to find XMRV might have been lacking.

We cant say these groups could not find XMRV because they did internal validation tests which indicated they could find the virus. But the acid test is finding it in the patients blood samples and the WPIs evidence suggested that they were having difficulty finding it there.
This must have concerned them yet we get the sense that they made no attempt to get to the bottom of the situation and ultimately discarded the WPI's results. It appears that both groups, for whatever reasons, simply decided that the WPI was wrong. (Perhaps this is why they did further validation tests?)

Chickens Coming Home to Roost - Now the chickens have come home to roost, so to speak, in a very public way. The WPI has publicly informed the scientific community that a) both groups had discrepancies they did not publish in their paper and b) that the WPI is willing to establish a very transparent procedure to figure out which group was incorrect. Somebody is going to have egg all over their face before this is done.

We should be clear that the fact that the WPI found XMRV and the other labs didnt doesn't mean that the WPIs results are the correct ones. Its possible that the other groups do in fact have the correct findings. The WPIs case, however, is buttressed by a lot of supporting evidence (antibody tests, sequencing tests, the ability to grow the virus) while these other groups have a single PCR study. The fact that the WPI is taking the initiative here makes one suspect that they are quite confident in how this will turn out.

Bringing Light to the Darkness? - The way to figure out where the discrepancy lies is to share samples and that is just what the WPI is proposing to do. Their offer to send their reagents and other materials straight into the hands of, what many patients consider the Dark Side at the Imperial College is a bold one but does indicate that the WPI trusts these groups to conduct these tests honorably.

One is getting the feeling that the boil is going to blow in the not too distant future.the big Fed study appears to be about halfway done, the Bateman/Light/Singh/ARUP team is plowing forward with a second study on XMRV, the CDC study is reportedly in pressthe quickie studies appear to be over - the big studies are on the way - XMRV is getting more interesting all the time.

For now the ball is in Dr. McClures court.


The WPI has made alot of amazing claims in the last few years, including claiming they can reverse CFIDS/ME using cancer drugs and immune modulators. I just hope they can do all they say they can do and that they are right about XMRV.
I think the metaphor at play is "doubling down." The WPI is "doubling down." They staked their entire reputation on the Science paper already; they've done it again in this letter.
Thanks Cort, for yet another very eloquent exposition.
You have the ability to put into words, what the rest of us are merely thinking.

It is clear to me that the WPI have been biding their time on this one.
I think that they have been working diligently (& extremely hard) behind the scenes in order to prepare for the inevitable confrontation with their critics. The WPI letter to Prof McClure is the opening salvo, in what will probably be a decisive battle in the XMRV story - as far as CFS/ME is concerned. Their careful thoroughness, in contrast with Imperial College's sloppy haste, will (I hope) see them prevail.

Having read the transcript of the recent Myra McClure interview, it appears that the team at Imperial College were not nearly as thorough in their work as the WPI have been. Indeed, I (a total layman) spotted several errors and inaccuracies in what she said in just that one interview.

As an Englishman, I have, to date, always been proud of our world leading academic institutions. However, I am embarrassed by the arrogant stance taken by Imperial College in this case. It does them no credit whatsoever and I hope that they do end up with "egg all over their faces" and individual reputations in tatters. It is apparently no more than they deserve.


Cort, you say it's a puzzling situation. That's so only if you assume that Wessely and clones have been honestly looking for answers. That assumption goes against the history and the facts. If you were a detective looking for the truth about the Wessely crowd, what would you think?

"It appears that both groups, for whatever reasons, simply decided that the WPI was wrong."

"Decided?" "For whatever reasons?" No, the whole story indicates they knew THEY were wrong, but at the urging of Wessely, as revealed in McClure's radio interview, they were pushed into doing a quick and dirty "study" with "samples of DNA" provided by him in order to influence world opinion against WPI and its findings.

McClure seems to have figured out that she was tricked or pressured into being his accomplice. I hope that these revelations from Annette Whittemore give McClure the kick in the butt to "out" SW, if only to save her own reputation.
ORganix, that's not my understanding. Its a rather confusing situation. If my understanding is correct the WPI did not share samples with the McClure/Wessely/Imperial group. - they shared them with the Groom group which included Dr. Kerr and Dr. Gow and others - and it was this group (and Kuppenveld) that apparently discarded the WPI's results.

If that's correct then the Imperial College group had nothing to do with the problems that the WPI is reporting. Dr. McClure has apparently been singled out partially because she wrote an editorial after the Dutch paper. For whatever reason, the WPI is going back to them to try and clear up the problems in Europe. This bears repeating - whatever bad things you can say about the Imperial College group, its clear that the WPI does not have any questions about their scientific integrity - they are, after all providing them with their reagents and samples and asking them to test them. They clearly recognize them to be legitimate researchers, albeit with a focus on CFS that they certainly do not embrace :).

I think the WPI was so dismayed at the Groom report because they contained ' friendly researchers. If I remember Dr. Mikovits e-mail correctly, the WPI collaborated with them before the study and then didn't hear anything until the week before the study was going to be published. I think they were just shocked by that.
I agree. McClure went too far in her conclusions in her editorial and that is what caught the WPI's attention. I can't imagine WPI is surely not providing reagants and such to a team they believe will smudge their results. I imagine, though, the WPI will be testing the same samples they send out there so they will have 'back up' so to speak.
whatever bad things you can say about the Imperial College group, its clear that the WPI does not have any questions about their scientific integrity - they are, after all providing them with their reagents and samples and asking them to test them. They clearly recognize them to be legitimate researchers, albeit with a focus on CFS that they certainly do not embrace :).
Cort, I don't think one can necessarily conclude that the WPI doesn't have any questions about the scientific integrity of the Imperial researchers. What they are doing is making a public challenge. If Imperial refuse this challenge then it will be clear for all to see that they have no scientific integrity. If however they claim to be impartial scientists the only logical response would be to exchange samples with the WPI. Any other course of action would be simply unacceptable. The WPI is calling Imperial's bluff. Let's hope that Imperial are true to their word that they are acting in the patients' best interest. If that is the case we should here from them soon. Any other course of action would betray their true motives.
What I'm saying - again not very well - is that they don't appear to have questions about the researchers there doing the test correctly. It would be crazy, otherwise, to so publicly ask them to do this test. I agree, though, that we're going to very quickly find out just how confident the IC group is in the efficacy of their results. With regards to other types of integrity its pretty clear that the WPI is at least partially reacting to an interview Dr. McClure gave recently which I have not yet heard...they are calling their bluff :)
Cort you haven't heard the McClure interview?? I know you must be really busy. Heck I'm really busy and don't have a website to run! But the McClure interview is a bombshell. She basically validates the entire methodology of the WPI, only she does so for prostate cancer. Namely she says XMRV in PC is real, can't be contamination because the isolated virus has been sequenced, doesn't match any murine virus (so can't be mouse contaminant), also each of the isolated sequences is slightly different (where as if it were contamination it would all be the same). She comes down firmly in favour of those studies in PC which find the virus, versus those which find nothing. Which makes her position on XMRV in CFS all the more bizarre and indefensible.

Full transcript is here:
Norman Swan: And it's not possible it's a contaminant that it's just crept into samples by accident?
Myra McClure: That's always a problem with retroviruses and their association with disease - this time it's not and I'll tell you why, because the people who published the American studies have been very careful to sequence this virus and the sequence and the phylogenetic analysis that is looking at the sequence of one virus compared to another and the eight samples they have are sequences taken from eight different viruses, taken from eight different patients with prostate cancer. All these are slightly different. Now if it were a lab contaminant you would have expected them all to be the same and they're not.
And secondly if it were a lab contaminant it would be exactly the same in sequence as all other known murine leukaemia viruses and it's not - it's different. So it's a real new virus.

Here is what Dr. Mikovits said in a Q & A for IACFS.

The negative studies were technically flawed in that their methods were demonstrated NOT to be capable of detecting XMRV. Their patient populations likely did not satisfy CCC criteria and they looked only by PCR on genomic DNA the least sensitive way of detecting XMRV. To date none one has attempted to replicate our study. It is very clear that the prevalence of XMRV in UK is NOT ZERO and that XMRV has been detected in CFS patients in the UK.
The thread is here:

Dr. Judy Mikovits IACFS/ME Newsletter Apr 2010 Q & A

So maybe they're doing better with their prostate cancer research?

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