May 25, 2010
Researchers at Georgetown University release new data on gammaretrovirus
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A report, 'Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus in chronic fatigue syndrome and prostate cancer,' is newly published data in Current Allergy and Asthma Reports. "Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) is a gamma retrovirus that has been associated with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and prostate cancer. The search for viral causes of these syndromes was reignited by the finding that RNase L activity was low in hereditary prostate cancer and some CFS patients," scientists in the United States report (see also Gammaretrovirus).
"The six strains of XMRV that have been sequenced have greater than 99% identity, indicating a new human infection rather than laboratory contamination. DNA, RNA, and proteins from XMRV have been detected in 50% to 67% of CFS patients and in about 3.7% of healthy controls. XMRV infections could be transmitted to permissive cell lines from CFS plasma, suggesting the potential for communicable and blood-borne spread of the virus and potentially CFS. This troubling concept is currently under intense evaluation," wrote J.N Baraniuk and colleagues, Georgetown University.
The researchers concluded: "The most important steps now are to independently confirm the initial findings; develop reliable assays of biomarkers; and to move on to investigations of XMRV pathophysiology and treatment in CFS, prostate cancer, and potentially other virus-related syndromes, if they exist."
Baraniuk and colleagues published their study in Current Allergy and Asthma Reports (Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus in chronic fatigue syndrome and prostate cancer. Current Allergy and Asthma Reports, 2010;10(3):210-4).
For more information, contact J.N. Baraniuk, Georgetown University, 3800 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007-2197 USA.