86.5% - Alter Paper Released Today at 3PM

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Elisa, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. Elisa

    Elisa Member

    Hi All,

    Here is the first article on the PNAS Alter paper on XMRV...

    86.5% Wow!


    God Bless,

  2. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Thanks, Elisabeth -

  3. bakeman

    bakeman New Member

    New evidence that virus may cause chronic fatigue

    A well-respected team of scientists released long-awaited new evidence Monday that a virus may be playing a role in chronic fatigue syndrome.

    The researchers, from the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and Harvard Medical School, analyzed blood samples that had been collected 15 years ago from 37 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Most of the subjects--32, or 86.5 percent--tested positive for a virus known as a murine leukemia virus-related virus, the researchers found. In contrast, tests on 44 healthy blood donors detected evidence of the virus in only three of the subjects, or 6.8 percent.

    While providing new evidence that a virus may play a role in the mysterious condition, the researchers said the findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are no where near proving the virus causes the syndrome.

    But the findings are being hailed by advocates for chronic fatigue syndrome patients, such as the CFID Association of America. The head of that group, Kim McCleary, says the findings are a potentially important step toward finding the cause of the condition and possibly developing treatments, as well as dispelling the notion that the condition is really psychological.

    Between 1 million to 4 million Americans are believed to suffer from the syndrome, which causes prolonged and severe fatigue, body aches and other symptoms. The cause has long been a mystery. Over the years, many viruses have been linked to the syndrome, only to end up being a dead end.

    But in 2009, Judy Mikovits and colleagues at the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Reno, Nevada, published a paper in the well-respected journal Science. That paper reported that many syndrome patients appeared to be infected with a little-known virus called the xenotrophic murine leukemia virus-related virus, or XMRV. XMRV is a so-called retrovirus, which is the same type of virus as the AIDS virus. XMRV had also been found in some prostate cancer patients.

    But four other groups, including a team at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, subsequently failed to duplicate the findings in other patients, raising deep suspicions that this was yet another wild goose chase.

    The new findings will probably revive interest in the virus. The virus detected in the new study does not appear to be exactly the same one the Reno group found, but it is closely related. In addition to detecting evidence of the microbe in an overwhelming majority of the stored blood samples, the researchers found evidence of virus in fresh blood samples from seven of eight of the patients, indicating that the infection persists. Harvey Alter of the NIH, who helped conduct the study, says there also were indications the virus had evolved slightly over time, which is what would be expected from a retrovirus.

    The paper's publication was delayed because of questions about whether the findings could have been the result of laboratory contamination. That prompted the researchers to conduct a series of additional tests to try to rule that out, and rumors that the research was being suppressed. But in an editorial accompanying the paper, the journal's editor said the additional studies were important to validate the findings.

    Some researchers are continuing to question whether the scientists had completely ruled out contamination. And almost everyone is urging great caution in rushing to any conclusions. But the researchers say they are confident they ruled out laboratory contamination. They're not sure why they found evidence of the virus in syndrome patients while others failed. But they speculated there could be a variety of explanations, including that they tested a better-defined group of patients or perhaps that the virus is only found in patients in some geographic areas.

    In a commentary accompanying the study, Andrew Mason of the University of Alberta in Canada and colleagues argued that one of the next steps might be to try testing antiviral drugs on chronic fatigue patients in a carefully designed study.

    Not everyone thinks there's enough evidence for that yet, given that antiviral drugs can have side effects. But Mikovits and her colleagues at the Reno clinic who made the original discovery say they are hoping a drug company will step forward to fund that kind of study.

    Meantime, researchers from various groups are working together to try to develop standardized ways to test patients for the virus to see if they can further validate the connection between the virus and the syndrome. The FDA and CDC are very interested in pursuing this, in no small part because if the virus does cause the condition then blood donors may need to be screened for it to protect transfusion recipients.
  4. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Active Member

    What I want to know, is, if using the Canadian definition of ME/CFS, you took 1,000 CFS patients from Vancouver, Canada, 1,000 CFS patients from London, England, and 1,000 CFS patients from Sydney, Australia, would we also test positive for XMRV?

    It bothers me that the testing was done yet again on the same samples taken 15 years ago. Just because that group of people are positive doesn't mean that everyone else with CFS has XMRV. Maybe this group of people didn't actually have CFS.

    Too many groups have not been able to find XMRV for me to get excited about this news.
  5. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Take a look at this article: http://www.cfscentral.com/ - it won't answer all your questions but the article states in part:

    "After the paper was pulled in June, the researchers revisited eight of the 25 patients Komaroff supplied. The banked blood from 15 years ago was compared with fresh blood from those eight drawn this summer. Seven of the eight remained positive. According to Komaroff, the patient who became negative hadn’t recovered."

    So testing was done on "fresh" blood as well. Yes, we do need more testing on larger population samples, and maybe now we'll get it.


  6. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    I think this sounds like a step in the right direction. I would think the next step would be to look at all the studies, as you can even learn from the negative ones, and find out if these are piggy back viruses because of a damaged immune system or if they are causative.

    I would think these could be markers if indeed there is that large of a difference.

    It does not sound like FM. MS, nor Lyme patients were looked at, which I guess is understandable in the great scheme of things.


  7. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    I can' find the thread that shows the NYT article so I will post this here. The article says that Alter found several retroviruses but not XMRV? Possibly forms of XMRV?

    What consequence will this have for a future blood test and how reliable is the WPI's blood test?

    This is all rather confusing as most of us do not know how RVs work.

    Is it possible to access the press conference online?

  8. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Call 866-373-4990, and enter code 5711. It's recorded.

  9. hensue

    hensue New Member

    He is head of the blood bank at the National Institute of health. All the symptoms of fibromyalgia are very much the same as chronic fatigue.

    I was diagnosed at Emory Clinic in Atlanta Ga. Fibromyalgia is my only diagnosis and I am def
    XMRV +.

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