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Press Release: 10 March: Wellcome Trust

Discussion in 'Media, Interviews, Blogs, Talks, Events about XMRV' started by Dx Revision Watch, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Suzy Chapman Owner of Dx Revision Watch

    Press Release

    Wellcome Trust

    March 10, 2010


    Study fails to find link between chronic fatigue syndrome and virus


    A study published in the journal 'Retrovirology' has failed to find
    evidence of a link between chronic fatigue syndrome and a recently
    discovered virus.

    Chronic fatigue syndrome - also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis
    (ME) - is estimated to affect around 250 000 people in the UK. It
    can be a debilitating condition, with symptoms including chronic,
    often severe, mental and physical exhaustion, muscle and joint pain
    and cognitive difficulties. The causes of chronic fatigue syndrome
    are unclear and the theories have often provoked controversy.

    A 2009 study in the USA, led by Dr Vincent Lombardi at the Whittemore
    Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Diseases found evidence of a
    retrovirus known as XMRV in two-thirds of people with chronic
    fatigue syndrome compared to less than one in 20 controls. This
    strongly suggested a link between the virus and chronic fatigue

    However, in a study funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC),
    the Wellcome Trust and the CFS Research Foundation*, researchers
    failed to replicate these earlier findings. This new study supports
    research published earlier this year in the journal 'PLoS One'
    which also failed to replicate Dr Lombardi's findings.

    Researchers at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research and
    St George's University of London used a technique known as PCR to
    study 299 DNA samples from UK cohorts, including 142 samples from
    people with chronic fatigue syndrome. PCR is a highly sensitive
    method used to detect and amplify minute traces of DNA for analysis.
    Despite using a very sensitive PCR technique similar to that applied
    by Dr Lombardi and colleagues, the UK study failed to detect any
    traces of XMRV.

    The researchers then analysed blood samples from this group and a
    further 28 samples from a second cohort (a total of 170 samples) to
    look for the presence of neutralising antibodies against XMRV.
    Detection of these antibodies would provide evidence of previous
    XMRV infection. Only one sample (less than 1 per cent) was able to
    neutralise XMRV.Although 25 out of 395 control samples (just over
    6 per cent) were also able to neutralise the virus, in many cases,
    this seemed to be a broadly acting, non-specific response suggesting
    that serological studies may overestimate XMRV frequency.

    Dr Kate Bishop, a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellow
    who led the study, comments: "Our study failed to replicate the
    results of Dr Lombardi's study despite using what we believe to be
    a more sensitive test. We found no association between XMRV and
    chronic fatigue syndrome. However, chronic fatigue syndrome may
    encompass a spectrum of different conditions providing a possible
    explanation for this discrepancy.

    "Chronic fatigue syndrome affects a large number of people and our
    findings are likely to be very disappointing to these patients,
    their families and their friends. It is important that we keep an
    open mind about new scientific discoveries which point to possible
    causes of this often very serious condition. Replication is an
    important part of the scientific method and, as the initial
    findings have not yet been replicated, I think it will be important
    to develop standardised samples and assays for XMRV that can be
    rapidly tested by different laboratories around the world."


    Groom HC et al. Absence of xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related
    virus in UK patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Retrovirology


    Craig Brierley
    Senior Media Officer
    Wellcome Trust
    T +44 (0)20 7611 7329
    E c.brierley@wellcome.ac.uk

    About the Wellcome Trust

    We are a global charity dedicated to achieving extraordinary
    improvements in human and animal health. We support the brightest
    minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. Our
    breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the
    application of research to improve health. We are independent of
    both political and commercial interests.

    About the Medical Research Council

    For almost 100 years the Medical Research Council has improved
    the health of people in the UK and around the world by supporting
    the highest quality science. The MRC invests in world-class
    scientists. It has produced 29 Nobel Prize winners and sustains
    a flourishing environment for internationally recognised research.
    The MRC focuses on making an impact and provides the financial
    muscle and scientific expertise behind medical breakthroughs,
    including the first antibiotic penicillin, the structure of DNA
    and the lethal link between smoking and cancer. Today MRC funded
    scientists tackle research into the major health challenges of
    the 21st century.

    (c) 2010 Welcome Trust


    *CFS Research Foundation Trustees and Research Committee


    Ed: Note:

    Dr Tim Harrison PhD, DSc, FRCPath. is a Trustee of the CFS Research Foundation and member of the CFSRF Research Committee.

    Professor Stephen T. Holgate FMedSci, MRC Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology, University of Southampton is a member of the CFS Research Foundation’s Research Committee.

    Professor Holgate chairs the MRC’s “CFS/ME Expert Panel”.

    Dr Jonathon Kerr is a member of the MRC’s “CFS/ME Expert Panel”.

    Dr Paul Kellam BSc PhD, Department of Infection, University College London is a member of the CFS Research Foundation’s Research Committee and one of the project supervisors for the MRC funded UCL PhD Project:

    Project title: A role for XMRV in human disease Division of Infection & Immunity, University College London: Project Supervisors: Prof G Towers; Dr P Kellam


    It is not yet known whether the CFS Foundation intends to cease funding further UK studies into association of XMRV and CFS.

    A statement by the CFSRF, published in December, last year, in relation to XMRV and the Lombardi study can be read here, on ME agenda:

  2. Marco

    Marco Grrrrrrr!

    Near Cognac, France
    Is this a NEW negative study?
  3. subtr4ct

    subtr4ct Senior Member

    No. This is commonly refereed to as the "second UK study", originally discussed here at length in this thread.
  4. Marco

    Marco Grrrrrrr!

    Near Cognac, France
    Many thanks. Three negative UK studies involving the MRC/Wessley School alliance would be 'protesting too much'.

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