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New studies examine links between XMRV and human disease
Date:10/12/2010

tudies of chronic fatigue syndrome," Dr. Tsibris said.

A second study, led by Eleanor Barnes, MD, aimed to detect XMRV in patients with HIV-1 or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in the United Kingdom and Switzerland. Because the route of transmission for XMRV has not been established, Dr. Barnes and the researchers tested individuals who were at high risk for contracting blood-borne or sexually transmitted infections. Investigators tested plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells to determine if these patients were at risk for XMRV infection.

Investigators did not find XMRV in any of the 230 patients with HIV or HCV infections. According to the researchers, "This study provides the first evidence that if XMRV is a human pathogen, it is not enriched in the blood of patients with HIV or HCV, and by implication it is unlikely to be spread though sexual or blood-borne routes in the UK and Western Europe." In light of these findings, Dr. Barnes noted that further studies are necessary to explore potential transmission routes and determine which members of the population may be at risk.

The possible association between XMRV and human prostate cancer has also been questioned by conflicting studies. Jason T. Kimata, PhD, and investigators from the Baylor College of Medicine looked for XMRV in 144 patients with prostate cancer from the southern United States. Researchers were able to detect XMRV in 22 percent of men with prostate cancer. XMRV was present in both normal and tumor tissue of men with prostate cancer. According to the authors, this suggests that the virus may not specifically target cancer cells for infection and that infection may precede cancer. Dr. Kimata emphasized the need to "continue discussions about XMRV detection assay methodologies, so that discrepancies in the findings of different research groups can be addressed."

In an accompanying editorial, Frank Maldarelli, MD, PhD, and Mary Kearney, PhD, of the Nat
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Contact: John Heys
jheys@idsociety.org
703-299-0412
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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