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Treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome developed from cancer drug Rituximab

Published on 25/10/2011

Cancer drug Rituximab has been shown to successfully treat the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), supporting the theory that CFS is an autoimmune disease.

Around 250,000 people in the UK suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). It causes a persistent fatigue that affects everyday life, and doesn’t go away with sleep or rest.

Currently, there is no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome, and treatment can only ease the symptoms. Because it is a chronic condition, health insurers will not cover the cost of private treatment, and sufferers have to rely on the NHS.

However, a small Norwegian clinical trial has discovered that cancer drug Rituximab relieves the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, and can even eradicate the condition completely. If this treatment proves successful in curing CFS, private health insurers may cover the cost in the future.

"It's the most encouraging drug result so far in the history of this disease," according to Charles Shepherd, medical adviser to the UK ME Association.

Publishing their results in the journal PLoS One, researchers used two injections of Rituximab on 15 sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome. 10 out of these 15 had significantly relieved symptoms several months later, and two of these patients have completely recovered from the condition three years on.

Rituximab depletes the body’s B-cells, which release antibodies to fight infections. The results suggest that chronic fatigue syndrome is an autoimmune disease, when the antibodies attack the patient’s own tissues.

Researchers have now launched a phase 2 clinical trial that will incorporate injections three to 15 months after initial treatment. If a cure for chronic disease syndrome could be found, patients could one day be covered for it on their private medical insurance policy.

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© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011

Categories:  HealthMedical
Treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome developed from cancer drug RituximabCancer drug Rituximab has been shown to successfully treat the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), supporting the theory that CFS is    tweet it on twittershare with your friends on Facebookshare with your friends on MySpaceBlog it on your LinkedIn profile

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