Friday, 9 October 2009

Retrovirus associated with ME

This encouraging research news has broken in the last 24 hours; apart from anything else, it further shows how mistaken it is to offer psychological "treatments" such as Graded Exercise Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to those with ME!

There is a lot of information about the research available on the internet already, with links to many of the articles on the following website which states -

"News and scientific websites are publishing details of a groundbreaking scientific research study that for the first time links a normally dormant retrovirus called XMRV to patients with a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. This virus is also related to a subset of patients with Prostate Cancer. You can read an overview of XMRV in relation to CFS/ME here. "

Much of the research is linked with the Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI) in the USA. Their press release, which includes the following, can be found at -

WPI Press release

Whittemore Peterson Institute Scientists Discover Significant link between XMRV and ME/CFS

"RENO, NV – A recently identified retrovirus called XMRV has been linked to a debilitating neuroimmune disease that affects more than one million people in the United States.

"Scientists from the Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI), located at the University of Nevada, Reno, and their collaborators from the National Cancer Institute and the Cleveland Clinic, have discovered a retroviral link to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). "

XMRV research


"The spectrum of neuro-immune diseases including: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS), Atypical MS, Fibromyalgia and Gulf War Syndrome, share common abnormalities in the innate immune response inc, which result in chronic immune activation and immune deficiency.

"We have detected the retroviral infection XMRV is greater than 95% of the more than 200 ME/CFS, Fibromylagia, Atypical MS patients tested. The current working hypothesis is that XMRV infection of B, T, NK and other cells of the innate immune response causes the chronic inflammation and immune deficiency resulting in an inability to mount an effective immune response to opportunistic infections.

"This discovery opens an entire new avenue of Neuro-Immune Disease related research and our discovery has brought to this field world-renown immunologists and retrovirologists building our team of collaborators to translate our discoveries into new treatments as soon as possible.

"Because retroviruses are known to cause inflammatory diseases, neurological disease immune deficiency and cancer the discovery of XMRV has far reaching implications for the prevention and treatment of not only lymphoma, one of the potentially devastating complications of ME/CFS but prostate cancer and perhaps many others.

"As National Academy of Sciences member and expert retrovirologist, John Coffin wrote in the commentary accompanying our landmark publication in Science "One New Virus-How many Old Diseases". We look forward to translating this discovery into treatment options!"

The WPI has also put together a webpage of questions and answers about the research at: One of the questions is as follows -


"Does this latest information prove once and for all that ME/CFS is not a psychological or psychosomatic illness as described by those who don't understand the disease?


"Absolutely! Actually, there are thousands of research articles showing the very real biological problems that ME/CFS patient's experience such as low NK cell count and function, MRI and SPEC scan changes, and repeated chronic infections, to mention just a few. Only the most stubborn and misinformed individuals refuse to believe that this disease is real and serious. The process of placing poorly understood illnesses into a psychological category is very similar to what happened in the early days of MS and epilepsy before the advent of technologies which proved the illnesses were "real." Unfortunately, many in the scientific and medical fields have not learned from their past mistakes."


CATachresis said...

Hello Hazel
I think your blog is a very good idea. I've looked at your website too. Very helpful. Love the name :)

This news about the XMRV virus is momentous. I've been following it in the press and on the internet. I just pray that those of us who struggle with this horrible disease (my brother has it too) will be able to see some progress soon in testing and treatment - maybe an apology will be forthcoming from those in the medical profession who persisted down the psychosocial route!? Hmmmmmm!

Clare said...

Very interesting article, and thankyou for stopping by my blog.

Hazel said...

Many thanks for your comments.