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Article: What Science Giveth Science Try to Taketh Away: Science Journal Asks WPI To Retract XMRV CF

Discussion in 'Phoenix Rising Articles' started by Phoenix Rising Team, May 30, 2011.

  1. Phoenix Rising Team

    Phoenix Rising Team

  2. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Hibernating

    South Australia
    Given that lots of researchers have likely made the same 'mistake' in the case of the prostate cancer link, either a lot of papers should be retracted, or none should.
  3. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    I think retractions only apply to the original paper -so if prostate cancer were to face the same fate only the Urisman paper, I think it was, would be asked to be retracted.

    The evidence for XMRV in prostate cancer is stronger than in CFS because at least in prostate cancer some studies have found it. Nobody yet has found XMRV in the blood of any patients other than the WPI...that kind of stark finding is one reason, I think, why Science was comfortable taking this step - they simply the think the science is more or less, almost irrefutable. Imagine how embarrassed they would be if XMRV turned out to be present in CFS patients.......after they asked the WPI to retract it...We'll know more when they produce their Expression of Concern.

    They didn't simply retract the paper - so they are leaving an option open..... but they are making a strong statement.

    It may be that these two upcoming papers provide really strong evidence against XMRV...we'll know in two days about them.
  4. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

    Stunned Cort - not into all the science as you analysts and hoping this move is not as awful as it sounds. Looking forward to hearing developments.
  5. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    It certainly represents a further loss in confidence in XMRV....It'll be interesting to see what those two new papers are about - if they provide something really guess is that they will given this strong statement.
  6. acer2000

    acer2000 Senior Member

    Thats actually not true. Lo, Alter et al. found it.

    Even if the original study turns out to have some errors, retraction is not called for in this case. Studies are wrong 90% of the time and they aren't retracted. I'm stunned.
  7. currer

    currer Senior Member

    This is politics not science. Even incorrect papers can contribute to the scientific process, although I do not believe the original science paper by Lombardi et al was incorrect. There is never any need to call for retraction as science is self-correcting if left to itself.

    Unfortunately this is not the case where politics is concerned. History is full of dictatorships of the right and left re-writing history to suit their purposes. Why the need to pretend the Lombardi paper never happened? And how will this call for retraction help those suffering from CFS/ME? Do we have a psychiatric disorder again? Is it wrong to suggest we are physically ill?

    Everyone should feel very threatened by this move. There is no doubt that the free exercise of scientific enquiry is being suppressed for political ends and we will be the victims.
  8. Nina

    Nina Senior Member

    And Cleveland Clinic, and NCI...

    It's part of this anti-WPI campaign to repeat this false statement at every possible opportunity.
  9. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

    Logan, Queensland, Australia
    Hi, in my view even if XMRV turns out to be wrong, which I am still not convinced of, retractions should be restricted to fraud or cases of serious error. Failed results do not qualify. In any case, we wont know until after the BWG and Lipkin studies, all the arguments against contamination make it at least as unlikely as XMRV causation (not association, which is more likely) in my view. Contamination aspersions are based more on a wish and a prayer than reason and logic. That does not mean there is not a problem, but to prove contamination they need much stronger evidence. If such evidence is forthcoming in the two new papers, then that will certainly set the cat loose amongst the chickens. That could happen, but I don't think it likely. However, it is also possible that two new studies are based on something else, and that could turn out to be interesting. Bye, Alex
  10. oceanblue

    oceanblue Guest

    That surprised me: 'premature' is a long way short of a flat refusal. could WPI possibly be waiting for the Lipkin study to conclude before announcing any changes?

    If the Levy study is a full replication that might explain why Science are asking for a retraction, otherwise I'd be a bit surprised because as Ian Lipkin has pointed out it's otherwise hard to provide any evidence of contamination (as opposed to evidence of its possibiity).
  11. Angela Kennedy

    Angela Kennedy

    Essex, UK
    She's doing science talk- attempting to speak in a neutral tone. She could hardly say "I've never heard anything so stupid in my life!" or "that's an absurd demand!" or "don't talk rubbish" (or other expletive beginning with b and ending with ollox).

    The bottom line is this attempt to get retraction is premature. It's also unscientific.
  12. insearchof

    insearchof Senior Member

    I agree. Judy Ms protests however strong, would not change a decision by Science, should it elect to pull the original study. Judy is politely saying that its too early to make this call and if they did, this would be a mistake.

    It was suggested by someone else, that this represents the possibility of a move on the part of Science to distance itself from what appears to it, to be a mounting scientific dud. This is quite possible, but in doing this it will set itself up as an altra conservative journal that may miss out on future studies by excellent scientists that contribute to exciting scientific developments that will end up being published by its competitors who confidentally assess the work at the time of publication, accept reasonable risk (all factors not being known at that point) and who elect to take it on and stand by it.
  13. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Well, as I noted in the article retractions are much more common in high profile journals and high profile studies - which the original study obviously was. I think the contamination argument is a secondary one - my guess is that the editors of Science are simply very clear in their minds that the paper was incorrect.

    Yes, they are asking the WPI to do something very difficult - pull their own paper - but they are also placing a stake in the sand themselves; they're saying we bet our Journals reputation on the fact that XMRV is not going to work out. For me that is the most salient fact..
  14. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    You're right - the Cleveland Clinic and the NCI did find it in the original paper. I stand corrected. It's also true that 28 other labs have not been able to find it - I think that's the main problem..:(

    Lo/Alter did not find 'XMRV'; they found pMLV's - yes, they felt that the pMLV's might fit within a larger XMRV family but they did not find XMRV itself; the gene sequences they found were associated most closely with pMLV's not XMRV.
  15. Fatima


    Montreal, QC, Canada
    Hi all,
    Isn't it a little premature? Asking for a retraction so soon after it was published, even before the Lipkin results are out? I am not surprised though, illnesses like ME/CFS or FM are not very well respected in the medical community. I believe that is the problem. A CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) radio show White Coat, Black Art just did a piece on why certain types of illnesses get very little respect from doctors. Dr. Brian Goldman (the host) says illnesses like ME/CFS, FM, need a marketing campaign to raise the level of respect of ME/CFS or FM. If you want to listen to the March 27, 2011 show Diseases That Get No Respect click on the following link:

    I am also saddened by this request for retraction because it means that the road to a 'cure' might be a very long and winding one. I have had mild to moderate ME/CFS for 5 years now, I'm in my 40s, have 2 children and, although my professional life has been interrupted a number of times, I am still able to work part-time. Yesterday, an acquaintance of mine told me about her 18-year-old daughter who's been experiencing profound fatigue for 3 months. She wasn't able to complete her college exams. The battery of tests she's had point to no apparent biological problems. As she was telling me about her daughter's symptoms (over the phone) tears started welling up in my eyes because I knew what all this meant for her daughter. I knew she wanted to hear that her daughter was going to be OK; I could hear the fear in her voice. I told her not to jump to any conclusions yet; her daughter should rest as much as possible and wait at least another 3 months to see if her symptoms go away. After hanging up I cried, and prayed this young girl won't have to bear the hardship of an illness that medical professionals, as Dr. Goldman says, have very little respect for.
    Fatima, in Montreal
  16. Bob


    England (south coast)
    I don't think contamination is a secondary issue Cort... The only reason that anyone is suggesting that the WPI study could be invalid is because of contamination... Unless, like you say, the two new studies bring something new to the debate.

    However, the two new studies are still not enough for the Science editors to force a retraction of the WPI study, suggesting that there still isn't enough evidence to demonstrate that the WPI's study is invalid.

    For the WPI study to be declared invalid by the Science editors, I think there would need to be proof that the findings were due to contamination, or if there was evidence that XMRV is not a human virus, and cannot infect humans.

    There seems to be a considerable amount of consensus that XMRV is a human virus, and there is ever increasing evidence that the WPI's XMRV findings are not likely to be due to contamination.

    The two new studies might tell us something new, but I would bet that they won't, especially considering that the original paper is not being forcibly retracted.
  17. jace

    jace Off the fence

    As has been pointed out by others, that is patently untrue. Even the CDC found it, in the Blood Working Group trials yet they later went back to their old failed assays, with primers set with VP62 and annealing temperatures that were too high, making the tests used too specific to find a wild type virus. See Busch et all 2011 - mission, progress, plans, pages 6 and 7 (copy available by email - pm me).
  18. Chris

    Chris Senior Member

    Victoria, BC
    I agree that withdrawing the paper, with the Lipkin and BWG work ongoing, would be "premature." What disturbs me is that finding XMRV in prostate cancer and finding it in CFS/ME give rise to such different reactions--Silverman et al recently published another paper on XMRV in prostate cancer--noone is suggesting a retraction there, as far as I am aware. And Silverman is the original discoverer of the virus. That almost forces one to think that politics (i.e. money and fame etc) are at work here --though I recognize that contamination is not 100% impossible. We will have to wait some more. Chris
  19. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Yes, Jace you are correct - but the CDC's finding it in 'transiently' in a few of their employees and none of their CFS patients - using the same tests - really doesn't do anything for CFS...In fact it hurts XMRV in CFS because it suggests that the CDC can find XMRV (the WPI says they cannot) - and that therefore it is not in the patients they were looking at. Even if they weren't good CFS patients it should have shown up in background levels.

    It does suggest that XMRV can infect humans - that is good - but probably only after working with it in the lab and then doesn't go any further - ie it doesn't get passed on.

    The fact that they had some positive transient results in the BWG tests - sometimes they found it and sometimes they didn't - doesn't help that much because that means their test basically didn't sometimes a sample was positive and sometimes it was negative. You're focusing the positive finding but that same test also had negative findings...when they should have been positive.....a 50-50 false positive/false negative test is a test that doesn't really tell you anything. Its not surprising to me that they didn't keep it.

    Nobody wins by 'fixing' the results in a virus that is this well studied. The only one who wins is the one who gets it right in the end...Therefore it behooves labs to do their best.
  20. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

    "It behoves all Labs to to do their best" - b..... the politics. And have we woken up all the science going into Virals now. Oh yes we have. Come on you guys - as they say the truth is out there ! How come so many diseases now are being accepted with viral origins.

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