The Invest in ME Research Centre of Excellence for ME includes a strategy of translational biomedical research. The UK rituximab trial fits into this strategy perfectly. The fundraising target is £520,000. IiMER update – click here.
At the 2011 Invest in ME international conference, Norwegian cancer specialists Dr Øystein Fluge and Professor Olav Mella announced strikingly successful results in their pilot study of the immunotherapy drug Rituximab on ME/CFS patients. In that study  67% of ME/CFS patients had moderate to major improvement, compared to only 13% of controls. The pattern of response indicated that ME may have an autoimmune component because rituximab works by temporarily wiping out immune-system B cells, which are implicated in autoimmune disease.
These groundbreaking results gained international attention when the study was published. Dr Fluge and Professor Mella began a confirmatory trial in January 2014, part-funded by the Norwegian government; at the IiME 2015 conference, they presented further evidence of the efficacy of rituximab in the treatment of ME patients.
RITUXIMAB CLINICAL TRIAL OVERVIEW
Invest in ME Research (IiMER) have initiated a UK rituximab trial.
IiMER’s advisor on the trial is Professor Jonathan Edwards, Emeritus Professor of Connective Tissue Medicine at University College London (UCL).
Professor Edwards was responsible for both the phase I and the proof of concept phase II (NEJM 2004) studies in rheumatoid arthritis, which formally established the validity of B cell depletion in autoimmune disorders. It all started with a paper called ‘Do self-perpetuating B lymphocytes drive human autoimmune disease?’ published in Immunology in 1999 .
There is no other expert in the UK who is better placed than Professor Edwards in advising the charity in setting up a rituximab trial to benefit ME patients.
In order to build a trials protocol and identify likely responders a preliminary B-cell study led by Dr Jo Cambridge was set up at UCL in collaboration with clinicians with expertise in ME from around London, in particular Dr Amolak Bansal. Professor Edwards believes this is a useful study in its own right and pre-requisite to a clinical trial.
The rituximab clinical trial is planned to take place in Norwich. See trial update here.
RITUXIMAB TRIAL NEWS HIGHLIGHTS
- The MATRIX is launched – a Let’s Do It for ME idea to fund the UK rituximab trial.
- Statements By Professor Jonathan Edwards and Invest in ME – July 2013
- Progress of the Preliminary B-cell Research Project – August 2014
- B-Cell PhD Studentship Proposal Description – September 2014
- ME/CFS – Through The Eyes of a Young Researcher – January 2015
- IiMER-funded UCL B-cell Study Paper Published – February 2016
- IiMER Fund Additional Student to Assist UCL B-cell research – August 2016
- IiME Research Represented at IACFS Conference – October 2016
- IiMER Update on UK Rituximab Trial – November 2016
- Haukeland Team to Visit Norwich – January 2017
See the full list of trial updates on the rituximab trial site here.
Thank you for helping to make this happen!
Invest in ME Research – Let’s Do It!
|1||Benefit from B-Lymphocyte Depletion Using the Anti-CD20 Antibody Rituximab in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. A Double-Blind and Placebo-Controlled Study http://bit.ly/11Ht7VW|
|2||Edwards JC, Cambridge G, Abrahams VM. Do self-perpetuating B lymphocytes drive human autoimmune disease? Immunology. 1999;97:188–196. [PMC free article] [PubMed]|
LAST UPDATED JANUARY 2017