Multicenter Study Reports No XMRV/pMLV in CFS/ME

Paper-180x300Results of the large multicenter study designed to provide a definitive answer on whether xenotropic murine leukemia virus-like virus (XMRV) and/or polytropic murine leukemia viruses (pMLVs) play a role in CFS have been published in the open access journal mBio:

Title: A multicenter blinded analysis indicates no association between CFS/ME and either XMRV or pMLV

Authors: Harvey J. Alter, Judy A. Mikovits, William M. Switzer, Francis W. Ruscetti, Shyh-Ching Lo, Nancy G. Klimas, Anthony L. Komaroff, Jose G. Montoya, Lucinda Bateman, Susan Levine, Daniel Peterson, Bruce Levin, Maureen R. Hanson, Afia Genfi, Meera Bhat, HaoQuiang Zheng, Richard Wang, Bingjie Li, Guo-Chiuan Hung, Li Ling Lee, Stephen Sameroff, Walid Heineine, John Coffin, Mady Hornig and W. Ian Lipkin

Link to full text:

The American Society for Microbiology, publisher of the mBio journal, issued a press release about the study:

Title: “Viruses not to blame for CFS after all”

Press-conference-picture-2-300x197A press release was issued by the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University. CII was funded by the National Institutes of Health to lead the multicenter study. The press release:

Title: “CFS is not linked to suspect viruses XMRV or pMLV; Multi-site blinded study puts to rest the notion that these viruses cause the mysterious ailment”

A press conference was held at 10:30 a.m. (Eastern daylight time) on Sept. 18 at the Center for Infection and Immunity. Dr. Ian Lipkin reviewed the study procedures and conclusions and four additional study authors addressed questions from the audience. The press conference was webcast to the public and will be available later for viewing on demand.

Participants: Drs. Ian Lipkin and Mady Hornig of the Center for Infection and Immunity; Dr. Harvey Alter of the National Institutes of Health; Dr. Judy Mikovits who is now working independently; and Dr. Francis Ruscetti of the National Cancer Institute.

“This Week in Virology,” a popular science podcast, features a special report with Dr. Lipkin and host Dr. Vincent Racaniello, professor of virology at Columbia University:

Title: A paradigm for pathogen de-discovery

The Solve ME/CFS Initiative provides this summary of the multicenter study by scientific director Dr. Suzanne Vernon and CEO Kim McCleary:

Title: The De-Discovery of XMRV

The Solve ME/CFS Initiative issued this statement to reporters:

“Over the past three years, more than 70 publications have followed the original report linking CFS to XMRV. This well-designed, expertly executed study from Alter, et al addresses weaknesses of past efforts, provides a conclusive answer and offers closure. The totality of published evidence indicates clearly that there should be no lingering concerns about XMRV/pMLVs infecting individuals with CFS, the general population or blood donors.

“We are grateful to the scientists, physicians, patients and federal agencies that participated in this effort as well as more than 30 studies of CFS and XMRV that preceded it. The intense effort dedicated to exploring XMRV as a possible pathogen in CFS demonstrates that academic researchers and government labs around the world can rapidly mobilize resources when provided a promising lead. The Solve ME/CFS Initiative is dedicated to the relentless pursuit of science that translates to meaningful diagnostic and treatment advances for people living with CFS. It is disappointing that XMRV did not illuminate that path, but we will translate the heightened awareness and scientific engagement to hope for better care and ultimately a cure for CFS.”

Media coverage of the study’s results was initiated by two U.K. outlets before the 12:01 a.m. embargo lifted:

Media coverage by outlets that observed the embargo until 12:01 a.m.:

Blog posts from voices within the CFS community:

XMRV had also been linked to prostate cancer, with mixed results in studies that attempted to replicate the original finding. A study published Sept. 18, 2012 in PLoS ONE reported that the original observation was the result of contamination; soon thereafter, editors of PLoS Pathogens retracted the original paper.

September 18, 2012