1st International XMRV Workshop


XMRV has been discussed at numerous scientific sessions since its discovery in 2006, but the 1st International XMRV Workshop was the first scientific conference dedicated solely to presentations about the family of gammaretroviruses that includes XMRV and polytropic murine leukemia viruses (MLVs) associated with prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Over the two-day session held Sept. 7-8, 2010, 43 new presentations of data were made by groups from around the world following an opening address by NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins. The final question and answer session was webcast and abstracts are available online. Science magazine and NCI Cancer Bulletin provided short follow-up reports, and the organizing committee is preparing a manuscript of the proceedings for publication in Retrovirology, an online, open-access journal. Our report on the conference and a comparison of new data on the prevalence of XMRV and MLVs in samples from CFS patients supplement these reports and provide a focus on the CFS data and key issues raised at the conference.


While the Workshop did not provide satisfying resolution or easy answers, there was considerable optimism among speakers and panelists about the accelerating pace of progress. Most agreed that accord on key issues is likely less than a year away. While that timetable is little comfort to people whose lives have been derailed by any of the conditions linked to this family of retroviruses, this meeting demonstrated that XMRV has rallied scientific interest unmatched in the history of CFS.

September 23, 2010