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XMRV Buzz – Silverman Concerns, BWG Study Underway, + Prostate Cancer Study

Posted by Cort Johnson

MEDIA WEEK– this has been Media Week for XMRV as large stories have shown up in Nature Magazine, Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune or the past 10 days or so.

Trine and the Trib on XMRV – Trine Tsouderous has carved out a place as a fierce skeptic of XMRV and the WPI over the past year and her latest article is, if anything, fiercer than ever. The big news in the article was the statement from the co-discoverer of XMRV, Dr. Silverman, that of his concern about contamination in his lab and his report that the lab had previously stored the 22RV1 cell line in it.

“I am concerned about lab contamination, despite our best efforts to avoid it,” Silverman wrote in an e-mail, adding that similar cell lines “are in many, many labs around the world. Contamination could come from any one of a number of different sites.”

“22RV1 cells were once previously (more than a year earlier) grown in my lab but were being stored in a liquid nitrogen freezer at the time, and not the same freezer used to store prostate tissues,” Silverman wrote in an e-mail. “At the time it was unknown that 22RV1 cells were infected with XMRV.”

Like almost all of the recent bad news about XMRV the fact that the 22RV1 cell was in his lab is circumstantial. It doesn’t necessarily mean XMRV got from that cell line into his samples and there is still no ‘smoking gun’.  However, if  Silverman and the WPI exchanged materials it does potentially set up a straight line from his lab to the WPI.

Only time will tell how it turns out. Many labs carry the 22RV1 cell line and if XMRV is escaping from it one has to wonder why XMRV isn’t showing up everywhere instead of being incredibly hard to find.  Why show up in the WPI, Silverman and NCI labs and not the BSRI, CDC, Joliceur, McClure, Groom, Heinrich, etc. labs? There are still many pieces of the puzzle to put together.

Dr. Silverman is reportedly working very hard on clearing these matters up and we’ll probably have to await a paper before we can come to a conclusion on his labs role in XMRV.

There was nothing positive for XMRV in the rest of the article. Dr. Coffin stated “I think most people are reasonably convinced that there is not much left anymore,” Coffin said. But, he said, “I don’t think everything has been nailed down.”

Dr. Racaniello also felt the research must go forward and it is. The CFIDS Association just reported that the Lipkin study is moving forward as planned. Expect studies out from Dr. Silverman and  Dr. Levy in the not too distant future. Nobody seems clear about where the much delayed Singh study is or the GSK/CFIDS Association study.

The Blood Working Group Study  — on that subject the CAA also reported that the all important BWG study is in the sample collection phase. XMRV is being hit pretty hard right now but a positive BWG study would presumably turn everything around. Results are expected  in the summer.

More Studies! – The studies keep piling out.

  • A Japanese study found no evidence of XMRV in 100 CFS or 500 prostate cancer patients using PCR or antibodies but then concluded that “the lack of adequate human specimens as a positive control in Ab screening and the limited sample size do not allow us to draw an ultimate conclusion.”
  • A Journal of Urology study did find XMRV in 17% of malignant prostate cancer tissues but concluded based on other tests that it did not play a role in causing prostate cancer.
  • Another Journal of Urology study found XMRV in 1 out of 67 cases of prostate cancer.
  • Yet another Journal of Urology paper by Silverman and Klein found that culturing XMRV in prostate cancer cells triggers the production of genes associated  with inflammation

Dr. Mikovit spoke yesterday in Alberta on how to find XMRV and got an excellent review from XMRV Global Action including some news that made the reporters “jaw drop” but which she was asked not to report.  Her talk was well received by the researchers present.

Dr. Peterson will be in Alberta in just two weeks to give his talk on XMRV in ME/CFS: Is this newly discovered retrovirus an innocent bystander or central player? ” sponsored by the ME/CFS Action Network.


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