The 12th Invest in ME Research Conference June, 2017, Part 2
MEMum presents the second article in a series of three about the recent 12th Invest In ME International Conference (IIMEC12) in London.
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WSJ - NIH Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Conference, XMRV Debate Heats Up.

Discussion in 'Media, Interviews, Blogs, Talks, Events about XMRV' started by shannah, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. shannah

    shannah Senior Member

    April 8, 2011, 9:21 AM ET.

    At NIH Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Conference, XMRV Debate Heats Up.

    By Amy Dockser Marcus

    Scientific conferences can sometimes be boring events, filled with talks that run over the allotted time, text-dense slides and debate that is so civil it is often hard to tell there is disagreement. But thats not the case when the topic of the virus XMRV is on the table.

    At the NIHs two-day state of the knowledge workshop on chronic fatigue syndrome, which started yesterday, researchers, scientists, government officials, and patients saw two scientists square off in heated battle over whether XMRV plays a role in CFS.

    On one side was Judy Mikovits of the Whittemore Peterson Institute, which led the scientific team that reported a link between the retrovirus XMRV and CFS in a 2009 paper published in the journal Science. She presented both published and unpublished data on how patients make antibodies to XMRV and ways the retrovirus leaves immune dysfunction footprints in the blood. She suggested its time to translate some of the findings into ways to help patients.

    On the other side was John Coffin of Tufts University, presenting unpublished work done in his lab and at NCI suggesting that XMRV was generated during lab experiments growing human cancer tissue in mice and then got into patient samples through contamination.

    Emotions about XMRV have run so high for the past 18 months that after Coffin finished his talk, he asked for extra time to make a personal statement. He spoke mainly to patients, some of whom have called into question the motives of the scientists studying XMRV. Coffin said that scientists went into the studies eager to help and werent directed by their employers on whether or not to find XMRV. And they dont have a commercial interest in the outcome. The statements are not only inaccurate, they are painful to read, he said.

    Still, when asked during the heated post-presentation discussion session for his thoughts on the next scientific steps to be taken, Coffin declared that while he was still willing to consider an infectious cause for CFS, I see the next step leaving the virus known as XMRV behind.

    The referee in the fracas was Harvey Alter, part of a different group of scientists who found a family of retroviruses (to which XMRV also belongs) in patients with CFS. Alter said that he found Coffins data about the origins of XMRV very convincing, but questions the next step in Coffins suggestion, that the XMRV findings in patients are the result of contamination.

    Alter pointed out that in the work he is involved with, the scientists constantly worry about the possibility of contamination, but have used multiple detection tests including ones developed by Coffins group and so far havent found any signs contamination has occurred.

    Government studies are underway in an effort to resolve the dispute. NCI launched a small study on 30 patients who previously tested positive for XMRV and are now providing more blood samples and undergoing extensive work-ups. A federally led scientific blood working group studying the potential impact on the blood supply is testing for XMRV in CFS patients and in healthy controls.

    But Alter told the audience that he is waiting for the results of a major NIH-sponsored study, led by virus hunter Ian Lipkin, that will take blood from a large number of patients and healthy controls at multiple centers around the country and test for XMRV.

    Stay tuned, Alter said, for this critical piece coming down the pike.
  2. Jemal

    Jemal Senior Member

  3. insearchof

    insearchof Senior Member

    Great article. Thanks for posting,
  4. markmc20001

    markmc20001 Guest

    Let me get this straight. John Coffin talking about unpublished work saying he did find the XMRV virus and it was created in a lab.

    Now Dr John Coffin found XMRV in the lab, in unpublished work, but it is time to leave it all behind? ROFLMAO!!!!!! Can't have it both ways!!!! Can't find XMRV with unpublished data, and dismiss it like there is nothing else to see. Just move along kiddys, nothing to see here. HA!

    Harvey Alter sounds like the voice of reason here. Ok, I agree you found it in the lab, but disagree we should all just move along.


    (edit) who is John Coffin working for anyways and who is signing his paycheck? Someone needs to retire this guy fast.
  5. Freewindblowin


    SW Idaho
    Thank you for posting the article and the link.

    Last Friday I sent my monthly $20.00 to WPI.

    It isn't much but it is what I can do. Also have been writing some letters. Slow process with this disease! I have felt more encouraged by the discussions here.

    Something's up. Coffin is too loud, defensively loud. Judy M. is unbeatable at holding feet to the fire. She knows her science. Alter and Lo did good work too. Silverman's work is sound, I hate seeing him worry something happened and all those great papers...He runs a very tight lab. I do not think that alleged contamination happened.

    When I first heard about the alleged "contamination" issue which, interestingly, seems to be showing up in people's bloodstreams? I thought, well, gee, if you hot science guys really want to think it is "contamination" (My first round with this disease was back in 1975...) you might :oops:have a HUGE liability problem, since this "contamination" causes very real immune system responses...and what else?

    I am looking forward to the science!
  6. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

    I'm waiting for the science too, Freewindblowing and that's why I was so disappointed in Coffin. If he couldn't answer the questions then he should not have been there. I want him to come up with the goods and prove his theories. He appeared weak, obstinate and ineffectual. He should get back to the labs and prove his theories before talking further in public or making any remarks.

    The NIH committee looked bad and unprofessional for bringing him there.

    How many other researchers, when they came to talk about their field, had an opponent scheduled to talk just after them to rubbish their theories?

    Especially one who couldn't even answer the main scientific questions around XMRV. It was a mud slinging exercise and they should be ashamed.

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