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Scientific Misrepresentation in the UK: Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Press Release

Posted Jan 02 2011 11:06am


Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, retract your statement on XMRV

The Petition

A new human retrovirus, XMRV, has been found in a significant percentage of patients with prostate cancer, as well as those with ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).

Researchers around the world are working hard to determine the ramifications of the discoveries. Of particular concern is whether XMRV, like the other known human retroviruses HIV and HTLV, causes serious diseases.

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute co-sponsored a study published on 20 December 2010 (Hue et al), which proposed but did not prove that XMRV may not be a genuine human pathogen, and, accordingly, any earlier research which found XMRV in these two diseases could be flawed due to mouse contamination.

That same day, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute also issued a press release stating that XMRV was not the cause of ME/CFS.

Yet this conclusion was not supported by the cited study of Hue et. al. which made no such claim, and did not demonstrate XMRV was not a human pathogen.

The statement was quickly picked up by members of the media, and some rushed to proclaim there was no association between the retrovirus XMRV and ME/CFS, or as the press release stated, XMRV did not cause ME/CFS.

The false claims of this press release are potentially very damaging to further research into this retrovirus, and may hinder future funding and progress.

Please sign this petition and join with us here to get the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute to retract the statement contained within the press release.

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• XMRV: Xenotropic Murine leukemia virus-Related Virus

• MLV-related: Murine Leukemia Viruses-related retrovirus

• XMRV is an MLV-related retrovirus.

• Polytropic MLV-related virus gene sequences have also been detected in people with ME/CFS. (Lo et al.)

• Press release from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute:

The 4 papers published in Retrovirology on the 20th December
• Hue et al.:

• Oakes et al.:

• Robinson et al.:

• Sato et al.:

• Lombardi et al. First positive XMRV & ME/CFS study:

• Lo et al. Second positive MLV-related retrovirus ME/CFS study:

Please sign the petition NOW
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