The XMRV Discovery Series
The discovery of a retrovirus in a majority of people with† chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME/CFS), and possibly people with fibromyalgia (FMS),† has made big news. (Click here for the story.) But this particular infectious agent has made headlines before -- just last month, when it was linked to some cases of prostate cancer.
The retrovirus is called XMRV. To begin understanding this discovery, let's look at a few key definitions.
XMRV stands for:
- Murine leukemia virus
So, essentially, it's a virus related to a virus that causes a type of leukemia in mice.
The term xenotropic means: xeno=foreign, tropic=growth. When a virus that normally infects another species infects humans, that virus is called xenotropic. XMRV apparently originated in mice.
A retrovirus is one that inserts its DNA right into your cell's genetic makeup. In cancer, tumors can result when a retrovirus inserts its DNA next to a gene that regulates cell growth. I don't see anything in the published ME/CFS paper to suggest that scientists know exactly where the DNA is inserted in human cells, but I imagine that will be a major area of exploration as this research continues.
Also See: The XMRV Discovery Series
Learn more or join the conversation!
- The Monster List of ME/CFS Symptoms
- The Monster List of Fibromyalgia Symptoms
- Treating Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
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