XMRV Buzz – IAP/Malderelli/Indy Star Article/Spinal Fluid Comes Up Empty

February 6, 2011

Posted by Cort Johnson

  • Malderelli Study - the Malderelli XMRV retest study has elicited a ‘little’ controversy…:). Dr. Malderelli, in a discussion with a patient, said he was collaborating with the WPI. Dr. Mikovits, however, in several emails posted on the internet, has said neither the WPI nor Drs. Alter/Lo are or ever have collaborated with Dr. Malderelli. Dr. Mikovits also wants patients to know that the Malderilli study will take place in Dr. Coffin’s lab. From an email to a patient “She also informed me that the retesting of XMRV positive people is set to take place in John Coffin’ s laboratory and that Dr. Malderalli works for John Coffin.”

    IAP Test - there was quite a push to have researchers employ the IAP test in their studies after the Retrovirology papers came out. The controversy over what type of contamination test makes one wonder what, if anything, researchers in this field can agree on. It’s almost one thing after another (XMRV vs XMLV’s, VP62 vs wild type, contamination test, PCR vs culturing, freezing/refreezing samples, test tube types, patient cohorts,….). At the Workshop both sides (pro mtDNA, pro IAP) somehow not only proclaimed that their test was more sensitive but that it was much more sensitive.

    One thing is very clear, though, Dr. Mikovits does not support using the IAP test in XMRV retest studies, eg; “The WPI will not recommend any XMRV positive patient participate in any study that uses the IAP assay ..it is not validated..never has been.”

    Of course, the offsetting problem is that these other researchers don’t trust the mtDNA test!…So now not only is there no consensus on how to find XMRV; there’s no consensus on how to test for contamination…..

    Dr. Mikovits has laid out her concerns in this area. Earlier she pointed to the paper and presentation that concerned her. The ball, now, is really in the other researchers court; it’s time for them to respond to her concerns. Hopefully they will do so publically.

  • Alter/Lo Videocast in About Two Weeks - keep this on the calendar. Except for the Miller/Malderilli controversy the XMRV beat has been pretty dead lately but this 2 hour (!) live videocast from two of the most forefront proponents of XMRV could be really something.  Dr’s. Alter and Lo will be talking on Is There a Virus in CFS? on Feb 22nd. Check it out here.
  • Indy Star Article on CFS and XMRV nice article on CFS and XMRV. Dr. Bells notes that if XMRV is it in CFS–we’ve got it licked…which may not be, at least in the long term, too optimistic given the success seen with HIV – a much more complex retrovirus.
  • NIH ME/CFS Grant Review Panel (CFS SEP) Takes a Step Back - this is probably old news for many but the seating of the Feb grant review panel for CFS at the NIH drew no cheers. Yes, there were more researchers with CFS experience than on most of the CFS SEP’s but that’s not saying much. Pain researchers dominated the panel (twice as many as CFS) and we lost some strong pro CFS voices (Klimas, Ruscetti, Broderick). What really got everyones attention,  though, was the presence of Dr. McClure – who has been very clear that she believes XMRV does not exist. She is one of the two retrovirologists on the panel which means she will be reviewing any XMRV grant applications….not a pretty picture. Protests quickly sprung up; check out more on this situation here.
  • Spinal Fluid VIP Dx Study Finds No XMRV (or anything else) - This US NAIAD study used VIP Dx Labs to look for XMRV in blinded CSF samples using both straight PCR and culture. It failed to find XMRV using.

    This was quite a promising study and it’s the second NIH funded study in the last month to use cutting edge technology to take a broad search for pathogens in the blood or spinal fluid that came up zip.

    Their hope was that

    The discovery of potential pathogens in cerebrospinal fluid of CFS would be field-altering in terms of approach to the study of the disease and possible early detection, prevention and treatment. This could be the gateway step to generate new hypotheses and begin investigation into a microbe’s causal association and ways to prevent (egg vaccine) or counteract the effects of a microbial pathogen”

    It was an enticing vision but it was not to be. Bear in mind that it was cutting edge technology and that can cut both ways.

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