Tuesday, June 29, 2010

XMRV papers on hold

We're going to have to wait to see the results of the latest XMRV studies.

Last week, the FDA and NIH announced that they had independently confirmed the Whittemore Peterson Institute's original findings linking ME/CFS with the retrovirus XMRV. And there was much rejoicing among all of us who hope the link will lead to treatment, even a cure someday.

The CDC had also wrapped up an XMRV study. Though they didn't officially announce their results, CFS Central reported that they were negative. Disappointing, but not surprising to anyone familiar with the history. The CDC defines ME/CFS very broadly, and their research likely includes patients who don't actually have the disease.

There was nothing to do but wait for the release of both studies. Then we could examine the methodology and draw conclusions about the discrepancies.

According to the Wall Street Journal, however, both reports are being held from publication.
Kuan-Teh Jeang, editor-in-chief of Retrovirology, said the Switzer paper went through peer review and was accepted for publication when he got a call from the authors earlier this month. They asked that the Retrovirology paper be held.

"My understanding was HHS [Department of Health and Human Services] wanted to get it straightened out. Both reports are from different branches of the government," Dr. Jeang said.

In an email between scientists familiar with the situation, viewed by the Wall Street Journal, a researcher said the two teams were asked to put their papers on hold because senior public-health officials wanted to see consensus—or at least an explanation of how and why the papers reached different conclusions, said the people familiar with the situation.
Entire article here.

I don't want to don the tinfoil hat and immediately call shenanigans. I do want to know what's going on. Both of these papers were peer-reviewed; both were accepted by their respective journals. For the government to suddenly step in and suppress the results is a little bizarre, and it makes me nervous.


Laurel said...

This makes me REALLY nervous.

Maija Haavisto said...

It's definitely very weird. And if two groups have been able to get very similar, positive XMRV results and their studies have been accepted by prestigious, rigorously peer-reviewed journal, it pretty much means the other people are just using the wrong probes. If it wasn't real, the other study group couldn't have been able to replicate their results.

Anonymous said...

The negative results by the CDC were totally expected, since they do not *want* there to be a relation between CFS and XMRV. That's how it is. They are inhuman people who know what they're doing...yet still doing it . They problably get paid for it by some company selling some anti depressants or something...