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Identification of replication competent gammaretroviruses in PC cell lines


Near Cognac, France
Anyone like to hazard a guess at the implications of these two statements?

If the source of retroviral infection is not from the prostate cancer patient, but introduced by passage through animals or laboratory contamination, then the presence of replication competent retroviruses in commonly used prostate cancer cell lines for research could potentially have confounding effects on experimental outcomes.

These results suggest that if CWR22Rv1 cells are routinely cultured in a typical biomedical research laboratory setting (e.g. using standard Class II biosafety cabinets and procedures for cell culture in which two different cell lines are never present under the hood at the same time), that XMRV can infect and contaminate other cell lines.

My uninformed opinion would be that (a) BSL level 2 is inappropriate when handling these cell lines or similarly infected biologicals and/or (b) any infected cell lines/biologicals should be withdrawn from research use due to the currently unknown potential confounding impact on any experiments.

Any thoughts?


Senior Member
Hi Marco,

This problem - the confounding effect of contaminating retroviruses on the outcome of research was discussed in scientific journals years ago - the late eighties if I remember correctly - the problem was that admitting that your research had been carried out on contaminated cell lines could undo years of work and the reputation that goes with it - hence researchers colluded in silence on this problem.

For far too long by the look of it.