Wednesday, December 22, 2010

WPI Refutes Latest Accusations of Contamination in XMRV Studies

I haven't had the time or energy to post about this, but I imagine you've seen at least one of the many articles published this week and last claiming that there is no XMRV in ME/CFS and that the previous positive studies that found XMRV were due to contaminated samples.  This new proclamation is coming from the UK but has been reprinted by many major news outlets.

I haven't been paying much attention to it because I knew it was all BS.  As I reported this fall from the NJ CFS Conference, Dr. Mikovitz addressed the issue of potential contamination in her presentation, including detailed explanations of why both her findings and those of the FDA/NIH study could not possibly be due to contamination.

Since this new accusation is getting so much press, I just wanted to post the refutations.  First, here's an excellent explanation written by a fellow blogger at CFS Chronicles - I absolutely love her coining of the term "retrocrapologists"!!

And here is Dr. Mikovitz own refutation, released from WPI yesterday:

"Statement from the Whittemore Peterson Institute regarding
Retrovirology December 20,2010by Whittemore Peterson
Institute on Tuesday, 21 December 2010 at 04:13

The Lombardi et al. and Lo et al. studies were done using
four different methods of detection. They were not simply
PCR experiments, as were the studies by McClure et al. and
others who have recently reported their difficulties with
contamination. Experienced researchers such as Mikovits,
Lombardi, Lo and their collaborators understand the
limitations of PCR technology, especially the possibility
of sample contamination. As a result, we and Lo et al.
conducted rigorous studies to prevent and rule out any
possibility that the results reported were from contamination.
In addition to the use of PCR methodology, the Lombardi team
used two other scientific techniques to determine whether,
in fact, we had found new retroviruses in human blood
samples. We identified a human antibody response to a gamma
retroviral infection and we demonstrated that live gamma
retrovirus isolated from human blood could infect human
cells in culture. These scientific findings cannot be
explained by contamination with mouse cells, mouse DNA or
XMRV-related virus-contaminated human tumor cells. No mouse
cell lines and none of the human cell lines reported today
by Hue et al. to contain XMRV were ever cultured in the
WPI lab where our PCR experiments were performed. Humans
cannot make antibodies to viruses related to murine leukemia
viruses unless they have been exposed to virus proteins.
Therefore, recent publications regarding PCR contamination
do not change the conclusions of the Lombardi et al. and Lo
et al. studies that concluded that patients with ME/CFS are
infected with human gammaretroviruses. We have never claimed
that CFS was caused by XMRV, only that CFS patients possess
antibodies to XMRV related proteins and harbor infectious
XMRV, which integrates into human chromosomes and thus is a
human infection of as yet unknown pathogenic potential.

"The coauthors stand by the conclusions of Lombardi et al.
Nothing that has been published to date refutes our data."

Judy A. Mikovits"

Sue again...I hope that helps put these ridiculous accusations to rest (though of course, the controversy will continue...)


Baffled said...

It kind of stinks. The four papers were originally published in a non-peer reviewed on-line magazine, i.e. not really legit. The trouble is that WSJ got their hands on it and published an article about it as if it were the latest findings. The original papers revolved more around the sources of contaimination in PCR tests which make them highly unreliable for XMRV tests. Since the papers are now being touted as a refute of the WPI work they have had to publish yet again the fact that they didn't use PCR. It is amazing how twisted things get when they pass through the regular media.

BTW Sue, thank you for your lovely comments. Wish we lived closer together, I would love to meet you.

Baffled said...

Dr Rancaniello just printed a retraction of his statement in the Chicago Tribune:

dominique said...

I just posted a video with Dr. Enlander who refutes the contamination issue as well.

Sue Jackson said...

Wow, a retraction?? I didn't expect that! I figured this would set off many more months of controversy...and maybe it will, but a retraction is awesome!

Thanks for the video link, Dominique.