Researchers Find Retroviral Link to ME/CFS

News was just released yesterday that researchers have found a retroviral link to ME/CFS. Researchers at the Whittemore-Peterson Institute, the Cleveland Clinic and the National Cancer Institute report from a study that 67% of 101 ME/CFS patients tested positive for infection with xenobiotic murine retrovirus (XMRV), a gammaretrovirus associated with a subset of prostate cancer. Out of 218 healthy individuals that were studied, only 3.7% tested positive for XMRV.

Judy Mikovits, Ph.D., director of research for WPI, had this to say about the research findings:

“We now have evidence that a retrovirus named XMRV is frequently present in the blood of patients with CFS. This discovery could be a major step in the discovery of vital treatment options for millions of patients.”

Researchers want everyone to know that this finding shows that there is an association between XMRV & ME/CFS but it does not prove that the virus actually causes ME/CFS.

Robert H. Silverman, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Cancer Biology at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute said in the press release:

“The discovery of XMRV in two major diseases, prostate cancer and now chronic fatigue syndrome, is very exciting. If cause-and-effect is established, there would be a new opportunity for prevention and treatment of these diseases.”

Retroviruses like XMRV have also been shown to activate a number of other latent viruses. This could explain why so many different viruses, such as Epstein-Barr virus, which was causally linked to Burkitt’s and other lymphomas in the 1970s, have been associated with CFS. It is important to note that retroviruses, like XMRV, are not airborne.

To read the entire press release on this new finding, please read Consortium of Researchers Discover Retroviral Link to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

So what do you all think about this research?  It has been believed for a long time that retroviruses had a role in ME/CFS.  Does it concern anyone that a retrovirus linked to cancer has been found linked to ME/CFS?  Post your thoughts!

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