Monday, June 13, 2011

Failed XMRV "Replication" Studies

Several studies have been published in recent months in which scientists were unable to find XMRV in patients diagnosed with ME/CFS. Authors of these studies and others have claimed that these results discredit the seminal XMRV study by Lombardi/Mikovits of the Whittemore Peterson Institute and contend that Mikovits' results must have been due to laboratory contamination.

As a result of these studies, Science magazine published an Editorial Expression of Concern, which casts doubt on the Lombardi/Mikovits XMRV study which Science themselves published in October 2009. Here are responses from the WPI:

Dr. Judy Mikovits
Annette Whittemore
WPI Clinical Advisory Board

Below is a comparison of the parameters, tests, and methodologies used in the failed studies, the Lombardi/Mikovits study and the Alter/Lo study, which found an association between ME/CFS and MLV's (Murine Leukemia Viruses).

A Comparison of Methods for the Detection and Association of XMRV in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

None of the failed studies came anywhere close to replicating the work of Lombardi/Mikovits and Alter/Lo. Saying these studies disprove anything is like saying that just because my paper airplane can't fly across the street, humans can't possibly have made it into space.

XMRV/ME/CFS and Inflammation

Two studies regarding inflammation in people with ME/CFS have been published recently.

The Whittemere Peterson Institute published Xenotropic Murine Leukemia Virus-related Virus-associated Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Reveals a Distinct Inflammatory Signature, which reveals a distinct cytokine and chemokine signature in people with XMRV-associated CFS and suggests a possible diagnostic procedure for the disease. (Thanks to Dr. Jamie Deckoff-Jones for publishing a link to this study in her blog.)

Also, a study, Exercise Challenge Reveals Potential CFS Biomarkers, explores biological responses to mild exercise in people with CFS. This study, by a University of Utah group affiliated with the CFIDS Association of America, supports the personal observations of many of us with ME/CFS who find that even very mild exertion can cause a significant relapse and/or severe exacerbation of symptoms.

The study also found that the use of anticonvulsants can have a beneficial effect, reducing this post-exertional relapse.