Popular international science magazine New Scientist has published yet another article covering research into ME/CFS.
This time they looked at findings which may lead to biomarkers for the illness by measuring levels of immune systems substances called cytokines which can affect levels of inflammation in the body. Read more…
Metabolic switch may bring on chronic fatigue syndrome
The New Scientists reports on preliminary work by Norwegian researchers led by Øystein Fluge of Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen and the possible link with the therapeutic effect of cancer drug Rituximab in other studies.
An event held in Norwich in January 2017 gave the public a chance to hear about some of the biomedical research being undertaken on ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis).
The event was hosted by IFR and Invest in ME Research, a charity promoting biomedical research and education into ME, which is aiming to establish a UK centre of excellence, to improve ME diagnosis and coordinate research into treatments and cures.
The talks were introduced by Dr Ian Gibson, former MP for Norwich North and from the Invest in ME Research Advisory Board.
Speakers (click to jump to their talks)
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a chronic disease causing long-term health problems, characterised by severe exhaustion, as well as pain and dysfunction of the brain, gut and immune system. ME/CFS has no effective treatments, and its causes still remain unknown
ME affects an estimated 250,000 in the UK needs high-quality biomedical research and international collaboration.
Dr Øystein Fluge, a senior consultant and oncologist at Haukeland University Hospital in Norway spoke about ground-breaking research he is leading on Rituximab. This drug has been used to treat leukaemia and lymphoma, as it targets B-cells, a type of blood cell. In 2004, Dr Fluge noticed that ME patients being treated for lymphoma with Rituximab also saw substantial improvements in their ME symptoms. Subsequently, pilot studies and a randomised, blinded, placebo-controlled study also showed positive results, with a large, multi-site Phase III clinical study now running.
Dr Fluge was visiting Norwich to discuss future collaborations over another Rituximab trial being carried out on the Norwich Research Park with Professor Simon Carding from the Institute of Food Research (IFR) and University of East Anglia. Professor Carding also introduced the audience to research in his own group, who are looking for causes and treatments for ME in the gut and its microbial communities. The Norwich Research Park is establishing itself as a hub for biomedical research into ME, in the UK and Europe and through international collaborations.
Full article at http://bit.ly/29ISg0I
Over the years, a number of reports in the scientific literature have pointed to the presence of abnormalities of heart (cardiac) function in ME/CFS. The latest comes from Prof Julia Newton and colleagues at Newcastle University and is published in the journal “Open Heart”.
In essence, the work confirms the group’s previous findings – but this time in a larger group of new patients and controls – and showed that the volumes of blood pumped by the heart per beat were lower than in healthy people. Also, in two-thirds of patients, the volume of red blood cells was below the lower limits expected in the normal population. Importantly, the length of illness was not related to any cardiac measurements, suggesting that ‘deconditioning’ (which would be greater the longer a person was ill) was unlikely to be the cause of these abnormalities, as is sometimes claimed.
The next steps are to explore whether these abnormalities are caused by ME/CFS or its consequences or whether, for instance, a (pre-existing) reduced cardiac volume may make people more vulnerable to the development of the illness. The work was funded by the Medical Research Council and ME Research UK, and you can read more at the link above.