IIME Rituximab Research Fund Tops £480k

Thanks to multiple generous acts & fundraising by individuals and organisations including amazing generosity from the Hendrie Foundation pledging a huge sum toward the Rituximab Trial and B-cell Research being organised by the charity Invest in ME (Research) the amount raised is now £484k towards the £520k target. This includes the research either now published, currently underway, or going to be performed. Please click here for details & ways to donate or pledge to the IiME Rituximab Research Fund or read on for the Layman’s Summary of the first paper now published in the journal Clinical & Experimental Immunology.

Following the recent publication of the first paper on the research at University College London (UCL) into myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) initiated and funded by Invest in ME (IiME) and supporters, the charity asked Dr. Jo Cambridge and Fane Mensah from the UCL team to explain, in layman’s terms, what the paper was describing. The paper is ‘Extended B cell phenotype in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: a cross-sectional study‘ – http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cei.12749/abstract;jsessionid=C57DA1EB5B711D2BEA9C3A468F138C81.f03t02

Here is their Layman’s Summary –

We would like to thank all the patients – and their friends and families – for participating in the UCL B Cell Phenotype study.

As a result of their generous donations of time and blood, we are delighted that our B cell Research Programme (funded by IiME) has been compiled and accepted for publication in a peer reviewed journal, Clinical and Experimental Immunology.

This is the official Journal of the British Society of Immunology (please find a PDF copy attached).

The initial aim of our studies was to investigate whether there was any difference between surface markers expressed on B cells from patients with ME/CFS and those from age and sex matched healthy controls.

We looked at the % cells positive and also the number of markers per B cell, of 18 different markers expressed on B cells.

As you are aware, promising results have been reported from Norway in 2 earlier B cell depletion (Rituximab) trials and we are investigating many aspects of B cell function which may indicate, firstly, why Rituximab seems to work and to also identify patients most likely to benefit from this or related therapies.

In our study we have found no significant differences between the 10 traditional B cell subsets of ME/CFS patients compared to those from controls.

We then added in additional markers in order to further extend this characterization.

Here we did find an increase in a molecule expressed on ‘new’ B cells, that is the ones most recently exiting the bone marrow.

This is a differentiation marker called CD24.

CD24 polymorphisms (genetic changes) have also been described in different autoimmune diseases.

CD24 is a cell ‘adhesion’ molecule which is involved in the way B cells interact with other cells and with their surroundings.

This marker is important in the early stages of B cell maturation, where it is also at its highest expression and it is where we have found the differences.

We have also found another B cell phenotype which may be related in a negative way with disease duration.

We hope to extend these studies to other ME/CFS cohorts in other centers.

We will now continue to investigate the functional consequences of these changes in CD24 expression to get a better picture of what these findings may mean in relation to ME/CFS symptoms and in relation to what is found following Rituximab therapy.

By Dr. Jo Cambridge & Fane Mensah at University College London.

(original source – http://www.ukrituximabtrial.org/Rituximab%20news-Mar16%2001.htm)

Dr. Jo Cambridge and Fane Mensah will be involved in the charity’s 11th international Invest in ME Conference (IIMEC11) & 6th Biomedical researchers into ME Colloquium (BRMEC6) in London in June, along with biomedical researchers from at least 15 countries. It was attendance at these events by Professor Jonathan Edwards and Dr. Jo Cambridge that led to this work being undertaken at UCL enabling Invest in ME to honour their commitment to initiate the rituximab and B-cell research.

Thanks to everyone supporting the Invest in ME Research strategy of high quality biomedical research, international collaboration and the development of the Centre of Excellence for ME which is gathering pace, and managing to change the landscape of research into ME once and for all.


LAST UPDATED 7th May 2016