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The Link Between Heart Failure & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Wednesday December 30, 2009

Research Brief

Two studies recently published in Neuroendocrinology Letters suggest underlying factors of the cardiovascular irregularities some research has linked to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME/CFS).

CoQ10 Study

The first looked at CoQ10 levels between 58 people with ME/CFS and 22 healthy people. It was significantly low in those with ME/CFS and was a predictor of how severe symptoms were, especially concentration and memory problems (brain fog.)

Other research has suggested that low CoQ10 is a predictor of chronic heart failure (CHF), and researchers say this could help explain the link between ME/CFS and CHF. A 2006 study indicated that people with both ME/CFS and CHF die an average of 25 years earlier than people with just CHF.

Researchers suggest CoQ10 supplementation for those with ME/CFS, and they add that since statins (cholesterol drugs) lower CoQ10, people with ME/CFS shouldn't take statins without CoQ10 supplementation.

Inflammation, Oxidative & Nitrosative Stress Study

Following up on the 2006 study mentioned above, researchers reviewed available literature looking for a possible explanation of earlier death due to CHF (mean age 59 for ME/CFS, age 83 for others.)

Researchers identified 6 possible contributing factors. (I've kept this list as simple as possible; those well versed in medical terminology can click on the heading above for more in-depth information.)

1. Effects of chronic low grade inflammation
2. Increased oxidative and nitrosative stress
3. Low levels of antioxidants CoQ10, zinc and DHEA-sulphate
4. Spread of bacteria due to leaky gut
5. Low omega-3 fatty acids, high omega-6 and saturated fat
6. Viral and bacterial infections and psychological stressors (This is the researchers' grouping, not mine.)

Researchers conclude that these abnormalities may increase the risk of heart problems in people with ME/CFS.


All shall be well . . .
Santa Rosa, CA
Top 100 Stories of 2009

Health & Medicine / Infectious Diseases

#55: Virus Invades Human Genome and Causes... Chronic Fatigue?
Clever sleuthing finds a connection between a virus associated with cancer and the mysterious "yuppie flu."

by Jill Neimark
From the January-February special issue; published online December 30, 2009

Chronic fatigue syndrome, which affects 17 million people worldwide, has finally been linked to a specific pathogen: XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia-related virus). XMRV is one of only three known human retroviruses, infectious agents that slip into our genome and become a permanent part of our DNA. Cancer biologist Robert Silverman of the Cleveland Clinic isolated XMRV three years ago in men suffering from prostate cancer. The men had an immune defect that allowed the virus to proliferate, much like a defect documented in patients with chronic fatigue. Seizing upon that clue, cell biologist Judy Mikovits of the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Reno, Nevada, tested 101 chronic fatigue patients. In October she reported that 67 percent of them had the virus, as opposed to only 3.7 percent of healthy people. Tests on another 200 patients revealed that more than 95 percent of people with chronic fatigue carry antibody to the virus, Mikovits says.
For Mikovits these statistics raise new questions. Is XMRV the cause of chronic fatigue, or just an opportunistic infection? More ominously, does XMRV increase the risk of cancers, as HIV—another retrovirus—does? A blood test to detect XMRV antibodies is now available through VIP Dx Labs in collaboration with Whittemore Peterson. “This discovery could be a major step in the development of vital treatment options for millions of patients,” Mikovits says.


Senior Member
Posted on MedPage Today

The Changing Face of Medicine
What's the Next Big Thing?

By Michael Smith, North American Correspondent, MedPage Today
Published: January 04, 2010

It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future.

That famous observation from baseball great Yogi Berra applies in spades to medicine.

What technological advance or new insight will shape the next few years? As Yogi noted, it's tough to predict:

It could be -- as Leif Ellisen, MD, PhD, thinks -- tumor genotyping.

The Massachusetts General Hospital researcher says that in the future doctors won't treat cancer based on where it starts -- the lung or the prostate, say -- but on what genetic susceptibility it has.

"More and more, it's the genetic drivers or the genetic profile that determines how a tumor is treated," he told MedPage Today. "That's going to change the whole way we think about cancer diagnosis and treatment."

Or it could be the role of a novel retrovirus, dubbed XMRV, that's implicated in two completely different diseases -- prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome.

"It's very exciting because this is a new human retrovirus," said Robert Silverman, PhD, of the Cleveland Clinic, one of the people involved in discovering the new virus.

There are already two retroviruses that are known to cause human disease -- HIV and HTLV-1 -- and XMRV may be the first of many more, although it's "early days," Silverman said.

More at

According to the website, "MedPage Today is the only service for physicians that provides a clinical perspective on the breaking medical news that their patients are reading. Co-developed by MedPage Today and The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Office of Continuing Medical Education, each article alerts clinicians to breaking medical news, with summaries and actionable information enabling them to better understand the implications."


Senior Member
Research finds no proof that a virus is the cause of ME

UK scientists say they can find no proof that a particular virus is the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or ME, contrary to recent claims.
Work in the US, published in Science, had found the retrovirus in 68 of 101 CFS patients.

The UK team say the conflict between the two studies might be down to differences between the patients enrolled or the way the research was conducted.


Senior Member
Official Statement from the Whittemore Peterson Institute Regarding UK Study

The Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI) has reviewed the paper entitled “Failure to Detect the Novel Retrovirus XMRV in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” This study did not duplicate the rigorous scientific techniques used by WPI, the National Cancer Institute and the Cleveland Clinic, therefore it cannot be considered a replication study nor can the results claim to be anything other than a failure not just to detect XMRV, but also a failure to suggest meaningful results.


Senior Member
The CFIDS Association of America: XMRV Negative Results Emphasize Need for Robust Replication Study

A study testing for evidence of XMRV infection in CFS patients in the United Kingdom has reported negative results. This is the first publication following the article in the top-ranked journal Science from researchers at the Whittemore Peterson Institute, the National Cancer Institute and Cleveland Clinic that garnered worldwide attention from the media and scientific community. The new report, published Jan. 6, 2010, in the open access online journal PLoS ONE, failed to detect XMRV in CFS, but should not be considered a valid attempt to replicate the findings described by Lombardi et al., in the Oct. 8, 2009 Science article.
Can this study be considered comparable to the results published by Lombardi et al., in Science? In short, no.
It very well could be true that XMRV is not present in the U.K. as Erlwein, et al. suggest in their discussion, but it is also possible that the technique used in the PLoS ONE paper was suboptimal due to the different methods employed, when compared to the original experiments conducted by Lombardi, et al.


Senior Member
Reno Researchers Dispute British Study

Reno researchers dispute British challenge to virus discovery

The statement also cited different techniques used in the British study that make its conclusions meaningless, including the use of a molecular plasmid control in water instead of a positive blood sample.

"They paid to have their study published in the Public Library of Science, and it was then picked up by Science (magazine)," said Mikovits said, who suspects insurance companies in the United Kingdom are behind attempts to sully the findings of the Reno study.

She said the Whittemore-Peterson Institute has been flooded with calls from patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome discouraged by the conclusions made by McClure and her team.

"They want to know if we are going to give up because a few people are attacking us, but no, we are not going to give up," Mikovits said. "We are still trying to develop drugs to treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. That was our goal, and nothing has changed."
Fibromyalgia, H.I.V. and Chronic Fatigue nyTimes Jan 21 2010

Fibromyalgia, H.I.V. and Chronic Fatigue
By THE NEW YORK TIMESJanuary 21, 2010, 11:01 am

When The New York Times reported on a possible link between a virus called XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome, many readers had questions. Here, Dr. Nancy G. Klimas, who serves on the board of the International Association for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, responds to readers questions about fibromyalgia, H.I.V., cystitis and chronic fatigue syndrome. Dr. Klimas is a director of the department of immunology of the University of Miami School of Medicine and director of research for clinical AIDS/H.I.V. research at the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Existing HIV Therapies Also Block Virus Associated with Prostate Cancer and CFS

GEN News Highlights Apr 2 2010, 10:02 AM EST

Existing HIV Therapies Also Block Virus Associated with Prostate Cancer and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Merck & Co.s anti-HIV drug, Isentress, is effective against a recently discovered retrovirus called XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia-related retrovirus) that has been linked with prostate cancer and chronic fatigue symdrome (CFS), report researchers from the University of Utah and Emory University/Veterans Affairs Medical Center. They suggest that if XMRV can be shown to have a causative role in these two diseases, they may be treatable with an existing medication.

The findings are published in PLoS ONE in a paper titled Raltegravir is a potent inhibitor of XMRV, a virus implicated in prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome.

The group, led by Ila R. Singh, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pathology at the University of Utah School of Medicine, tested 45 antivirals including 28 marketed drugs in cultured human breast cancer and prostate cancer cells. They found that the integrase inhibitor, raltegravir (the API in Isentress), was the most potent XMRV inhibitor, although another integrase inhibitor L-000870812 and the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors zidovudine and tenofovir disoproxi fumarate also blocked XMRV replication.

When combined, the compounds also displayed synergistic effects and required even lower doses to be effective. This further throws up the possibility that mix-and-match approaches to treating XMRV infection could be a useful tool against the emergence of resistant viruses, the authors point out.

The researchers do admit that there is still much to find out about XMRVs putative role in prostate cancer and CFS. Not all studies that have looked for XMRV have been able to detect it in prostate cancers or in samples from CFS, they poins out. Even if XMRV is established to be the cause of prostate cancer or CFS, we will need to see the results of clinical trials before these drugs can be used in a clinical setting.

Nevertheless, they conclude, when an assay to measure XMRV viral loads becomes available, virus levels in the blood might become an objective surrogate marker for an effective response to antiviral drugs in addition to clinical outcomes.

While it is not yet clear if any illnesses are directly caused by XMRV, our data indicates that XMRV infections might be prevented or treated with specific antiviral agents. In the presence of any evidence of causality of human disease, our findings should provide the basis for designing clinical trials to treat them.

While Mercks Isentress was shown to be the most effective drug out of those tested in terms of blocking XMRV, the reported study was not supported by the company or by any other antiviral drug manufacturer, the researchers state.

Related News
Scientists Use shRNA to Remove Key HIV Co-Receptor (Feb. 26, 2010)
Investigators Enhance Irreversible Cell Growth Arrest to Prevent Tumors in Mice (Feb. 9, 2010)
Scientists Solve 3-D Crystal Structure of Retroviral Integrase Bound to Viral DNA (Feb. 1, 2010)
Researchers Design Molecules that Trigger Immune Response to HIV and Prostate Cancer (Nov. 6, 2009)
Scientists Pinpoint New Target for Prostate Cancer (Dec. 30, 2009)
This site has all the news articles to date on the Singh et al (Utah/Emory) research on the potential use of existing HIV drugs to treat possibly XMRV-induced diseases like prostate cancer and ME/CFS.

I think the site automatically updates itself as more articles are written on the topic. Wouldn't that be great!

Here's what there is to date:

AIDS drugs fight prostate cancer-linked virus, U. scientists say
Salt Lake Tribune - Simeon Bennett - ‎51 minutes ago‎
AIDS drugs blocked a virus linked to prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome, a study showed. Merck's Isentress fought the virus, ...

HIV drugs also inhibit retrovirus linked to prostate cancer
Daily News & Analysis - ‎8 hours ago‎
Washington, DC: Some drugs, known to fight HIV, also inhibit a retrovirus recently linked to prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), ...

US study shows anti-HIV drugs inhibit virus linked to prostate cancer, chronic ...
Xinhua - Wang Guanqun - ‎17 hours ago‎
WASHINGTON, April 1 (Xinhua) -- Four drugs used to treat HIV infection can inhibit a retrovirus recently linked to prostate cancer and chronic fatigue ...

HIV Drugs Might Combat Two Other Diseases
BusinessWeek - ‎20 hours ago‎
THURSDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- Four anti-HIV drugs inhibit a retrovirus recently linked to prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), ...

Existing HIV Therapies Also Block Virus Linked to Prostate Cancer and Chronic ...
Genetic Engineering News (press release) - ‎6 hours ago‎
Merck & Co.'s anti-HIV drug, Isentress, is effective against a recently discovered retrovirus called XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia-related retrovirus) ...

Researchers: Drugs show promise in fight against cancer, CFS
KSL-TV - Ed Yeates - ‎12 hours ago‎
SALT LAKE CITY -- Researchers in Utah have found certain drugs that attack the HIV virus also appear to attack another retrovirus linked with ...

Raltegravir Is a Potent Inhibitor of XMRV, a Virus Implicated in Prostate ...
ProHealth - Ila Singh - ‎21 hours ago‎
Background: Xenotropic murine leukemia-related retrovirus (XMRV) is a recently discovered retrovirus that has been linked to human ...

HIV drugs could have second life as treatment for retrovirus correlated with ...
Scientific American (blog) - Katherine Harmon - ‎Apr 1, 2010‎
Some medications already being used to treat HIV appear to inhibit a retrovirus that has been linked to prostate cancer and chronic ...

HIV Drugs May Treat Prostate Cancer and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
TopNews United States - Jason Ramsey - ‎36 minutes ago‎
University of Utah and Emory University/Veterans Affair Medical Center (VA) conducted a research which concluded that retrovirus associated to chronic ...

The selection and placement of stories on this page were determined automatically by a computer program.
The time or date displayed reflects when an article was added to or updated in Google News.
RSS - Other News Editions - About Google News - About Feeds - Blog - Help - Terms of Use
2010 Google - Google Home - Advertising Programs - Business Solutions - Privacy - About Google
Powerful HIV drugs inhibit retrovirus linked to prostate cancer, chronic fatigue

Powerful HIV drugs inhibit retrovirus linked to prostate cancer, chronic fatigue

Friday, April 2, 2010

Certain drugs used to combat HIV also inhibit a retrovirus recently linked to prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), a new study from University of Utah and Emory University/Veterans Affair Medical Center (VA) researchers shows.

The finding means that if the retrovirus XMRV (Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus) is proved to cause prostate cancer or CFS, it's possible those two illnesses might one day be treatable with drugs aimed at HIV, the researchers write in a study published April 1, 2010, in PLoS One, an open-access journal published by the Public Library of Science (PLoS).

"These results offer hope to infected persons, but we are still at the early stages of our understanding of the potential link between XMRV and these diseases," said Ila R. Singh, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pathology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. "Not all studies that have looked for XMRV have been able to detect it in prostate cancers or in samples from chronic fatigue syndrome. Even if XMRV is established to be the cause of prostate cancer or chronic fatigue syndrome, we will need to see the results of clinical trials before these drugs can be used in a clinical setting. We, along with other investigators, are working as hard as we possibly can to get to that point, but it is important to caution patients that we are not there yet."

Singh, and Raymond F. Schinazi, Ph.D., D.Sc., professor of pediatrics and chemistry and an investigator with the Center for AIDS Research at the Emory University School of Medicine and the Atlanta VA, and colleagues tested 45 compounds used to treat HIV and other viral infections to see how effectively they worked against XMRV in cultured human breast cancer and prostate cancer cells. The most potent drug at inhibiting XMRV was raltegravir, made and marketed to treat HIV by Merck & Co., which inhibited XMRV replication in cultured cells at concentrations known to inhibit HIV in humans. Three other drugs, L-00870812, Zidovudine (ZDV or AZT), and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), also effectively prevented virus replication. This study was not supported by Merck or any other pharmaceutical company that markets antiviral drugs.

"Our study showed that these drugs inhibited XMRV at lower concentrations when two of them were used together, suggesting that possible highly potent 'cocktail' therapies might inhibit the virus from replicating and spreading," said Schinazi. "This combination of therapies might also have the added benefit of delaying or even preventing the virus from mutating into forms that are drug-resistant." Singh and Schinazi are currently investigating the development of viral resistance to raltegravir and other active drugs.

XMRV, a retrovirus discovered in 2006 by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and at the Cleveland Clinic, is one of three retroviruses known to infect people. Other retroviruses that are closely related to XMRV are known to cause leukemia and sarcomas in animals. Last fall, Singh led a study that demonstrated the presence of XMRV in malignant human prostate cancer cells. That study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found XMRV in 27 percent of prostate cancers examined, with the virus more likely to be present in the most-aggressive tumors.

More recently, scientists at the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Reno, Nev., identified XMRV in blood cells of patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.


University of Utah Health Sciences:
Thanks to University of Utah Health Sciences for this article.
This article has been viewed 163 time(s).


Senior Member
Columbus, OH
XMRV with Stephen Goff. Here is a link to a radio interview with Stephen Goff and Vincent Racaniello.

"Vincent speaks with Stephen Goff about the origin of the retrovirus XMRV and its association with prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome"
Potential Risk to Blood Supply Probed Apr 4 2010 Wall St Journal

APRIL 4, 2010, 7:41 P.M. ET

Potential Risk to Blood Supply Probed
XMRV Virus Gets Attention of Health Officials, but It's Unclear if There Is Any Danger


An infectious virus linked to two diseases is drawing the attention of public-health officials, who are investigating the potential threat to the nation's blood supply.

It isn't clear if the virus, known as XMRV, poses a danger, and public-health officials say there isn't evidence of spreading infection. But because of concern over the potential for widespread infection and preliminary evidence that XMRV is transmitted similarly to HIV, officials are quickly trying to determine if action is needed to protect the blood supply.

XMRV was discovered in 2006 when it was found in tumor samples from men with a rare form of familial prostate cancer. Research has also linked the virus to chronic fatigue syndrome and found it in measurable levels in the blood of healthy people. But the evidence isn't conclusive, as several other studies failed to find XMRV in the blood of people with chronic fatigue syndrome, and it isn't known how prevalent the virus is or whether it causes disease.

"These are early days trying to understand the public health significance of XMRV," said Jay Epstein, director of the Office of Blood Research and Review at the Food and Drug Administration.

Efforts are under way to find effective tests for the virus and determine its prevalence, led by a working group funded by the National Institutes of Health and including federal agencies such as the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Blood banks, academic institutions and at least one advocacy group are also involved.

The focus on XMRV is part of a growing effort to better monitor emerging infectionsdisorders that have either increased in humans in recent decades or are deemed a potential threat. Currently there are 12 tests used to block infectious agents from entering the blood supply, such as HIV or hepatitis C, and more screens are under study, including those for dengue, human variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and agents that cause malaria. There is no FDA-licensed lab test for XMRV, and officials say they are still setting standards for diagnosing it.[XMRV]

Public-health officials increasingly recognize that even infections not typically found in the U.S. can quickly come here because of global travel. Many viruses also have long incubation periods, making it harder to recognize that the virus was transmitted by a blood transfusion. In an October 2009 report, a federal advisory committee on blood safety and availability concluded that biovigilance in the U.S. is a "patchwork of activities, not a cohesive national program."

The incidence of infectious diseases being transmitted through transfusions is small, typically only a handful each year, according to the American Red Cross and data reported to the FDA. About 16 million units of whole blood and red blood cells were donated in the U.S. in 2006, the latest data available, according to the 2007 National Blood Collection and Utilization Report. The American Red Cross, which collects almost half of blood donations in the U.S., estimated that about 10,000 donors a year turn out to be infected with pathogens that officials screen for. Nearly half are hepatitis C virus.

Michael P. Busch, who runs the Blood Systems Research Institute in San Francisco and is a member of the XMRV working group, notes that everyone harbors benign viral infections. These viruses are transmitted in every blood transfusion, but aren't known to cause diseases in recipients, says Dr. Busch. Even if XMRV is found to be present in large numbers of blood donors, Dr. Busch notes, it is still necessary to determine if XMRV causes diseases.

The working group was established after a paper was published in October in the journal Science, where researchers reported finding the virus in a majority of 101 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. The study's co-authors at the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease, the National Cancer Institute and the Cleveland Clinic,also found the virus in nearly 4% of 218 healthy people used as controls in the study.

Extrapolating from those numbers, public-health officials estimated that up to 10 million people in the U.S. and hundreds of millions of people globally could be infected with XMRV, or xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus.

The apparent link to CFS, which affects an estimated 17 million people world-wide, and has no specific treatments, has been closely followed by the patient advocacy community. The Whittemore Peterson institute, established by the family of a chronic fatigue patient, has started collecting blood from CFS patients who got their diagnosis following a blood transfusion and plan to launch their own study of the issue, says Annette Whittemore, founder and president of the institute.

The CFIDS Association of America, an advocacy group for chronic fatigue syndrome, set up a bank to collect biospecimens to be used in potential studies about CFS, including XMRV-related ones. Researchers at Emory University and the University of Utah published a study last week showing that XMRV may be treatable with drugs that treat HIV.

The AABB, an association of facilities that collect virtually all of the U.S. blood supply, has also set up an XMRV task force, although the virus doesn't appear on a list of infectious agents evaluated by a special AABB transfusion-risk committee, as concerns came out after the latest list was put together.

Labs in Europe reported earlier this year that they haven't been able to replicate the XMRV findings in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome or prostate cancer. And public-health experts say a key issue in sorting out the disparate findings is to reach agreement on tests that are sensitive and reliable in identifying XMRV in the blood.

The federal working group's project has three phases. First, labs at six participantsincluding the FDA, the National Cancer Institute, the CDC, and the Whittemore Peterson labare using a panel of blood samples to try to establish which of the labs' tests are sensitive and reliable enough to find XMRV in the blood. Results are expected in a few weeks.

In the second phase, also launched, a panel of around 350 different blood samples developed by Dr. Busch's team will be sent to four different labs. Some of the samples are from chronic fatigue patients known to have XMRV. Others from healthy donors have been spiked with the virus or have tested negative. All the samples are blinded, and the study will see whether the different labs can agree on XMRV positive status for chronic fatigue patients.

A third phase may be launched later, using frozen specimens in federal repositories dating to the 1970s. These repositories link donors to recipients and will allow researchers to see if XMRV was transferred in transfusions and help determine prevalence in the past as well as today, as well as geographical clusters or associations with age and gender.

"There is a balance to what we are doing," says Simone A. Glynn, branch chief of transfusion medicine and cellular therapies at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and chairperson of the XMRV working group. "You do not want to transfuse an infectious agent that causes problems. But you do not want to take blood out of the system that is not causing any problems."

Write to Amy Dockser Marcus at
Virus Tied to Fatigue, HIV May Be in Blood Supply

Virus Tied to Fatigue, HIV May Be in Blood Supply
Feds unsure whether XMRV actually poses a threat, but probe ongoing

(in Cancer News Today)

By Harry Kimball| Apr 5 '10

(Newser) Public health officials are calmly but vigilantly pursuing a possible new threat to the nations blood supply linked to prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome. The virus, dubbed XMRV for the awful-sounding xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus, may be present in the blood of 4% of Americans, and was shown to be present in more than half of CFS sufferers in a study. But whether it is actually malignant or benign, no one knows.

The virus was discovered in 2006 in a study of a rare prostate cancer. No tests for the virus have yet proven completely accurate, and, chillingly, researchers have suggested that XMRV is treatable with the same drugs used to combat HIV. Still, its effects are unknown. A federal working group is evaluating testing methods and screening blood transfusions back to the 1970s to see how the virus propagates and what ill effects it may cause. You do not want to transfuse an infectious agent that causes problems, the chairperson tells the Wall Street Journal. But you do not want to take blood out of the system that is not causing any problems.
HIV drugs combat virus that might be linked to prostate cancer and chronic fatigue

Tate Mitchell posted this to CO-CURE today

[TM: Note: the title is similar to other recent articles, but this one kind
of gives an overview of new and old info.]

[if:Unfortunately, they forgot 'syndrome' in the title, but do use it in the article at times]

HIV drugs combat virus that might be linked to prostate cancer and chronic fatigue

April 5, 2010 | 10:36 am

Four drugs that are used to treat the AIDS virus HIV can also inhibit
the replication of xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus
(XMRV), a mouse virus that has been found in some patients with
prostate tumors and chronic fatigue syndrome. Now all researchers have
to do is show that XMVR is actually a cause of disease rather than a
passenger virus, as most researchers now suspect.

XMRV, a retrovirus that, like HIV, inserts a DNA copy of its RNA
genome into the nuclear DNA of its host, was discovered in 2006 by
researchers at UC San Francisco and the Cleveland Clinic. It was first
found in about a third of tumor tissues from patients with prostate
cancer, particularly those with the most aggressive form of the
disease. Subsequently, researchers from the Whittemore Peterson
Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease in Reno said that they found it in
about two-thirds of 101 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, a
mysterious debilitating illness that some doctors think is more
psychological than physical. Since then, however, three further
studies conducted in Europe have failed to find the virus in any
patients with chronic fatigue.

Critics have roasted the European researchers -- charging bias, among
other things. One potential problem, advocates of the virus theory
argue, is that the European researchers did not use precisely the same
assays that the Americans did. In an effort to circumvent this
problem, a team led by Dr. John A. Petros, a urologist at the Emory
University School of Medicine, developed a new assay for antibodies to
XMRV similar to the antibody-based assays used for identifying HIV
infection. They reported Monday in the journal Urology that they used
the antibody test to detect XMRV in 11 of 40 patients who had
undergone a radical prostatectomy, about the same proportion of
patients found in other studies. Their results were confirmed by other
laboratories using independent assays.

"We cannot as a scientific community begin to answer the basic
questions of XMRV transmissions, frequency in the population,
association with disease, etc., until we can effectively test for
infection," Petros said in a statement.

If the virus can ever be shown to be a cause of prostate cancer or
chronic fatigue, Dr. Ila R. Singh of the University of Utah School of
Medicine, chemist Raymond F. Schinazi of the Emory University School
of Medicine and their colleagues tested four HIV drugs against XMRV
grown in cultures of breast cancer and prostate cancer cells. They
reported Wednesday in the online journal PLoS One that the four drugs
-- raltegravir, Zidovudine, tenofovir and an experimental drug called
L-00870812 -- each blocked XMRV replication, but that the drugs were
most effective when used in combination. "Our study showed that these
drugs inhibited XMRV at lower concentrations when two of them were
used together, suggesting that highly potent 'cocktail' therapies
might inhibit the virus from replicating and spreading," Schinazi said
in a statement.

The drugs cannot ethically be tested in prostate cancer and chronic
fatigue patients, however, until it is shown that the virus actually
causes disease.

-- Thomas H. Maugh II

media - no discussion XMRV on Fox News April 9 2010

Fox News
For Your Health Friday, April 09, 2010

U.S. researchers have found that four drugs used to treat HIV may also help combat prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome. The drugs inhibit the replication of a virus found in some patients with those two diseases now scientists must prove the virus actually causes them:

If further investigation proves that the retrovirus xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) causes prostate cancer or CFS, these HIV drugs may be an effective treatment for the two conditions.

In this study, researchers from the University of Utah and Emory University/Veterans Affair Medical Center tested how effectively 45 compounds used to treat HIV and other viral infections worked against XMRV. Raltegravir was the most effective, and three other drugs L-00870812, zidovudine (ZDV or AZT), and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) also prevented XMRV replication.

Dx Revision Watch

Suzy Chapman Owner of Dx Revision Watch
Programme: The Health Report

ABC Australia
Monday April 12, 2010

Listen or download (5.3MB)

Virus linked to prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome

"Professor Myra McClure from the Imperial College London talks about the remarkable and incredibly controversial finding of a virus linked to prostate cancer and a tantalising link to chronic fatigue syndrome."


This transcript was typed from a recording of the program. The ABC cannot guarantee its complete accuracy because of the possibility of mishearing and occasional difficulty in identifying speakers.

Norman Swan: Welcome to the program. This morning on the Health Report a curable cancer that occurs during pregnancy and which could probably be looked after a lot better. The latest on lung cancer including a possible new treatment and an extraordinary story which is evolving as we speak. It's whether prostate cancer is linked to a viral infection, a very unusual virus and a suggestion by some researchers that this same virus may have something to do with chronic fatigue syndrome.

As you're about to hear it's a research landscape littered with landmines and someone who's been making her way through it with only minor injuries so far, is Myra McClure who's a Professor of Retrovirology at Imperial College London.

Myra McClure: The virus is xenotropic murine leukaemia virus related viruses. We call it XMRV for short.

Norman Swan:
XMRV is one of a family of viruses that once upon a time infected mice then weaseled its way into mouse chromosomes to find a permanent home. Having done so the viral genes have been passed down to offspring as part of their inheritance. But this particular virus seems to have broken out of its genetic prison and is infecting humans. Myra McClure again.

Myra McClure: Well it is an entirely new virus in the sense that it's not exactly the same as any other known murine leukaemia virus.

Norman Swan: Why did it come to your attention?

Myra McClure: Well it came to our attention quite late in the day actually because the first paper of the identification of the virus was in 2006 and we didn't get really interested in it until last year 2009 when a second paper came out showing that this virus was connected not just with the familial form of prostate cancer but with all forms of prostate cancer.

Norman Swan: So just go back to this earlier identification, what was being identified here?

Myra McClure: Genome sequences related to the virus were being identified in tissue samples taken from patients with prostate cancer from the tumour they identified this strange murine leukaemia virus.

Norman Swan: So in a sense although it's not HIV, it's done what HIV does which is interpolated itself into the DNA of the human being.

Myra McClure: Absolutely right, all retroviruses have this characteristic that when they infect a cell their genetic material gets integrated into the whole cell genetic material and it's there for life after that.

Norman Swan: So that was the first paper, and then another paper came out.

Myra McClure: Then another paper came out saying that we can find this virus in not just the familial cases, that is where families have got a history of prostate cancer but in sporadic cases and people that just get prostate cancer serendipitously and that became interesting because I think the figure was 23% of all prostate cancer patients were carrying this virus, or evidence of this virus infection.

Norman Swan: 23%?

Myra McClure: Yes that's a lot.

Norman Swan:
Compared to, I mean what's the average in terms of men carrying this virus?

Myra McClure: Well this virus hadn't been found anywhere before in any malignancy so this was really the first finding. Nobody had any inclination that there was a virus connected with prostate cancer before this was found. So to find it now in 23% of tissues was quite a finding.

Norman Swan:
And have you looked at normal men without prostate cancer?

Myra McClure: Yes they have and the incidence is very much lower, it's about something in the region of 1% and indeed there has been another interesting paper come out recently looking at healthy Japanese blood donors and they find that 1.7% of them are carrying the virus. So this is quite an interesting virus there is a percentage of people who are healthy who have got it but the much higher percentage of men with prostate cancer seem to have it.

Norman Swan: And has anybody found the free virus?

Myra McClure: No, as far as I'm aware this virus has just been found in tissues, I don't think anybody has actually isolated the virus from for example a blood sample yet - no.

Norman Swan: And what did you decide what you wanted to do with it?

Myra McClure: Well we run here as part of our research department a diagnostic service so making the sort of tests that identify viruses is second nature to us and we're interested in retroviruses, all sorts of retroviruses. So we thought well let's see if this virus has now been identified in two different centres in the United States, if it's real it's going to revolutionise the treatment of prostate cancer. So we thought we'll develop a test which will tell us whether or not the archived samples, the samples we've had stored for many years here at St Mary's Hospital are actually showing evidence of the virus. So we had the test ready to do that and that's what we are doing.

Norman Swan: So you had if you like a bio-bank of samples from men with prostate cancer?

Myra McClure: Yes, that's exactly right. The urologist here Dr Anoop Patel had been very foreseeing ten years ago he started setting up this bio-bank when he had patients with cancer who had had a biopsy he sent it to the histopathologist and the histopagthologist here Dr Marjorie Walker kept the tissue in paraffin blocks so they've been here maintained over all these years. And we get a small slice of these and we looked to see if the virus is present.

Norman Swan: And at the time of doing this interview with you you're not allowed to tell me what the results were because you haven't published yet.

Myra McClure: Well I'd rather not because you know there's a huge controversy. This virus has been born into controversy. The Americans say they can find that the first studies said 40% of familial prostate cancer, the second study said 23% of all prostate cancers, then an Irish group and a Swedish group came out and said they may be finding it in the States but we can't find it in our prostate cancers. Then a German group looked at 500 prostate cancer patients and they couldn't find it either. So people were beginning to say well if it is a real virus it's not in Europe but we're actually finding it I have to say.

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.

Norman Swan: To what extent are retroviruses carcinogenic, cancer causing, because it could just be a traveller with cancer, you could be susceptible because you've got the cancer rather than it having anything to do with the cause?

Myra McClure: Absolutely right and in fact the mechanism as to how this virus causes cancer is not clear because this is a very simple virus, it only has three genes, there is no oncogene there.

Norman Swan:
No cancer gene.

Myra McClure:
No cancer gene, so there's no cancer causing gene in the virus so it's not doing it in an obvious way. It's possible that it's an indirect effect of the infection. In other words the infection with this virus is causing inflammation and it's the inflammatory response which is maybe playing a role in producing the cancer.

Norman Swan:
If it were to be a real effect that it's there and much more commonly in people with prostate cancer what might you speculate is the epidemiology, how it behaves in the community?

Myra McClure:
You're asking the very questions that we've just applied for funding to investigate. Nobody knows what the epidemiology is like and that's the very first question that we have to answer. Whose got it, is it just in the States, is it in Europe, what other cancers in fact are associated with this? There are all sorts of questions to be asked not least because if the Japanese study is right and 1.7% of healthy people are carrying this then we're talking about a virus which may or may not have an association with a cancer which is in the general population. And retroviruses are transmitted sexually and they are transmitted via bodily fluids so you would want to know what the epidemiology of this is.

Norman Swan: And accidentally you got involved with chronic fatigue syndrome?

Myra McClure:
Completely accidentally, as I say we were set up to look at this virus and its association with prostate cancer when we were approached by people at King's College London who have a cohort of chronic fatigue syndrome patients. Now this is not a disease that we have any expertise in or that we work on here but because they knew we were a retrovirus lab they wrote and asked had we heard of this virus and of course we had, and what did we think of the association with chronic fatigue - well we had no idea.

Norman Swan:
And it's exactly the same virus that you were looking at in prostate cancer?

Myra McClure: Exactly the same virus yes. So they asked us would we be willing to test samples that they had stored at King's and of course we said yes. So they sent us DNA that they had stored down over several years from people who had been very sick with chronic fatigue and we tested it with our assay which was highly sensitive, in fact the assay will detect one single copy of this virus and we didn't find any evidence for the infection.

Norman Swan:
And you published it to some controversy?

Myra McClure: It's always controversial when you publish findings that are diametrically opposed to findings that have had such a high profile. After all Science is probably one of the best scientific journals in the world.

Norman Swan: And to explain, there is a bit of an industry here suggesting that retroviruses are a cause of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Myra McClure:
Well that's what we were afraid of really, I don't suppose we would have rushed out to publish these findings, I mean for us it was just a couple of weeks work, it was not our mainstream interest. But the reason we rushed into print with this and we did, was because we had some evidence through the net and through the grapevine that people were being offered this test, quite expensive, and much, much worse than that that patients were being offered anti-retroviral therapy, the sort of therapy you would give HIV patients. And there's no evidence that these drugs will work effectively against this virus, and you don't want to be giving this sort of therapy which has all sorts of side effects unless you're absolutely sure that (a) the virus is sensitive and (b) that the virus is causing the disease.

Now there has been a Japanese study which has shown, an invitro study, that's just looking at the virus growing in the laboratory in culture to show that only one of the known anti-retroviral drugs works against this invitro and that's AZT. So it's a waste of time giving anything else anyway and we don't even know if it's going to work in vivo, so we wanted to put a stop to that because we felt it wasn't ethical.

Norman Swan: And so based on this particular sample it doesn't look as if there is a cause and effect relationship at all, in fact it's not there at all.

Myra McClure: I can't say that because all we have done is to test 186 chronic fatigue patients, I mean we could be in the same position for example as the Americans are with their prostate cancer. They are the only people who can find an association so far until we publish anything that we might find. So we can't say that because as the American group, Lombardi's group, have pointed out ad nauseam to people we are not testing the same patients as they have.

Norman Swan: The Lombardi group?

Myra McClure:
That's the people who published the Science paper showing the association of chronic fatigue with this virus. In fact they say that 68% of chronic fatigue people are carrying this virus. We looked at our patients and didn't find any.

Norman Swan: Myra McClure is Professor of Retrovirology at Imperial College London. And you're listening to the Health Report here on ABC Radio National with me Norman Swan.


Van Kuppeveld FJM et al. Prevalence of xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related virus in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome in the Netherlands. British Medical Journal 2010;340:c1018

Myra McClure and Simon Wessely. Chronic fatigue syndrome and human retrovirus XMRV. (Editorial) British Medical Journal 2010;340:c1099

Kaye EO et al Failure to detect the novel retrovirus XMRV in chronic fatigue syndrome. PLoS One 2010 Jan 6;5(1):e8519

Lombardi VC et al. Detection of an infectious retrovirus, XMRV, in blood cells of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Science 2009;326:585-9


Senior Member
Canada bans blood donations from people with chronic fatigue​

OTTAWA Canada has become the first country to ban people with chronic-fatigue syndrome from donating blood.

The precautionary move is a result of Health Canada's concern over a virus known as XMRV, which has only potentially been linked to chronic fatigue.

XMRV closely resembles the AIDS virus, prompting fears it can be similarly transmitted through blood transfusions. The virus has also been linked to prostate cancer.

Canada's blood supply is managed nationally through Canadian Blood Services, which has erred on the side of caution since the tainted-blood scandal in the 1970s and 1980s that saw thousands of blood recipients contract HIV and hepatitis C.

Dr. Dana Devine, the vice-president of medical and research affairs for Canadian Blood Services, said that in the wake of the new policy "we have no evidence that the blood supply is less safe than it was.

"While we don't know yet whether or not this virus causes this disease, we thought it was an appropriate precautionary measure to take until the science sorts itself out," said Devine. "No one has ever found if this virus has caused any disease in humans."

An estimated 340,000 Canadians have chronic-fatigue syndrome, but Devine said only a tiny fraction of those with disease would have been healthy enough to donate in the first place.

Devine said she expects the new guidelines to take effect by the end of the month.


Senior Member
WPI Letter to Dr. McClure

April 12, 2010

Dear Dr. McClure:

On behalf of the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Reno, Nevada (WPI), I am writing
you today to ensure that there is direct communication between WPI and your research
team. You may share this letter with others that you deem appropriate, and I will do the
same by sharing this letter with other interested parties in both the United States and the
United Kingdom.

On January 6, 2010, you reported in PloS One that you failed to detect xenotropic murine
leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) in ME/CFS patient samples. In that publication
you reported the following conclusion, ased on our molecular data, we do not share
the conviction that XMRV may be a contributory factor in the pathogenesis of ME/CFS,
at least in the U.K. You subsequently made the following statement in your
commentary regarding the Netherlands study in the BMJ, .van Kuppeveld and
colleagues provide the additional information reported at a conference last year that the
patients in question came from an outbreak of chronic fatigue syndrome at Incline
Village on the northern border of Lake Tahoe in the mid-1980s.

This statement about the origin of the 101 patient samples is untrue. The patients in the
Science study were well defined in the paper as having CFS by the Fukuda and Canadian
consensus definitions of ME/CFS. More importantly the patient samples did not come
from the Lake Tahoe outbreak as you assert, but rather from patients who had become
ill while living in various parts of the United States.

We would also like to report that WPI researchers have previously detected XMRV in
patient samples from both Dr. Kerrs and Dr. van Kuppevelds cohorts prior to the
completion of their own studies, as they requested. We have email communication that
confirms both doctors were aware of these findings before publishing their negative
papers. In addition, Dr. van Kuppeveld asked for and received reagents and a positive
patient sample to determine if his testing procedures could in fact detect XMRV in a
positive blood sample before he published his paper. We wonder why these materials
were not used in his study which also failed to detect XMRV.

One might begin to suspect that the discrepancy between our findings of XMRV in our
patient population and patients outside of the United States, from several separate
laboratories, are in part due to technical aspects of the testing procedures.

To help identify the possible reasons for the discrepancies in detection of XMRV, WPI
would like to send you known positive patient samples with controls, from the United
States in an appropriate number, along with WPI reagents, so that we can help you
determine whether your testing methodologies will accurately detect XMRV in a clinical
sample of blood. In addition, WPI would be willing to test a like number of samples
from your patient cohort to see if our researchers can detect XMRV in those samples.

This critical exercise would help resolve the question of whether you are using all of the
appropriate techniques necessary to detect XMRV in a patients sample. If your tests are
able to detect XMRV correctly in the known positives, then the debate can appropriately
center on whether we can identify the differences in the patient cohorts which have been
the subject of various studies. It is in this systematic manner that we all may help to
move the science forward; instead of continuing to debate whether or not ME/CFS
patients in Europe are infected with XMRV.

It is also important to note that our initial study was not intended to prove causality of
ME/CFS, but to report a significant association between patients who had been diagnosed
with ME/CFS and XMRV. We believe that there exists compelling evidence to spur
additional scientific review, especially in light of the fact that our team of researchers
also discovered XMRV in the blood of 3.7% of our non contact controls.

I look forward to your timely reply.


Annette Whittemore
Founder and CEO
Whittemore Peterson​
Emory reports developing diagnostic test for XMRV infection Apr 8 2010

Emory reports developing diagnostic test for XMRV infection finds the retrovirus infects some prostate cancer patients
April 8, 2010

This assay has been rigorously confirmed by two independent labs and two independent technologies (PCR and FISH); thus confidence in the accuracy of the test is high.

The recently discovered retrovirus, xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV), has been identified in some prostate cancer patients. In light of conflicting data concerning XMRV, standardized diagnostic testing is important to identify patients in which XMRV is present and to determine whether it plays a role in the incidence of prostate cancer.

An article published in the April issue of Urology is a step in this direction as researchers from Emory University report the successful development of an experimental clinical test for XMRV. To read the free full text article (XMRV Infection in Patients With Prostate Cancer: Novel Serologic Assay and Correlation With PCR and FISH) click here.

"We cannot as a scientific community begin to answer the basic questions of XMRV transmission, frequency in the population, association with disease, etc. until we can effectively test for infection," according to lead investigator John A. Petros, MD, Associate Professor of Urology, Emory University School of Medicine and Veterans Administration Hospital.

Dr. Petros and co-investigators adapted technology developed in the HIV arena (neutralizing antibody assay) and have developed a serum test that can identify patients who have previously been infected with the virus. This assay has been rigorously confirmed by two independent labs and two independent technologies (PCR and FISH), thus confidence in the accuracy of the test is high.

The mode of transmission of the virus is unknown. No method is available to screen either blood or tissue donors for infection and no data are available regarding whether the virus can be transmitted by blood transfusion or tissue transplantation.

Dr. Petros comments, "The public deserves to know if the next blood transfusion or organ donation will give them XMRV retrovirus, an infection which lasts for life, and could possibly be related to prostate cancer. The failure to develop accurate tests for this virus is a serious public health oversight."

Although the assay used in the present report involved the inhibition of infection of target cells by viral-like particles with the XMRV envelope protein expressed on their surface, results also suggest that more standard serologic tests for antibodies against specific viral antigens can be developed in the future.

The authors conclude that:

"Our report adds to the growing body of evidence that XMRV is indeed a novel gamma-retrovirus capable of infecting humans and that at least some patients with prostate cancer have been infected with XMRV. We have reported serologic evidence of infection and that the serology correlated with tissue-based assays.

The concordance of 3 independent methods of detecting infection added confidence to the assertion that this recently discovered virus is real and possibly related to human disease.

Robust clinical assays are needed to detect XMRV infection, and much work remains to be done in determining whether XMRV is indeed an oncogenic [tumor-causing] virus or simply an associated epiphenomenon."

Source: Elsevier Health Sciences news release, Apr 5, 2010