By Simon McGrath in ME/CFS Research Review.
Although there are no treatments for ME/CFS on the horizon, things are looking up thanks to recent findings and a substantial increase in the amount of high-quality research. The field still needs much more funding.
Do you remember the buzz around rituximab? Oncologists Dr Fluge and Professor Mella had noticed something interesting when they treated their cancer patients who also had ME/CFS with the cancer drug rituximab: the patients’ ME/CFS symptoms improved dramatically. In 2011, Fluge and Mella’s small trial of rituximab as a treatment for ME/CFS produced promising results. A larger clinical trial followed but, last November, the researchers revealed that the treatment was not effective for ME/CFS.
As a result, things feel a bit flat right now for patients. People with ME remain desperate for treatments but there is no clear path to effective therapies. Yet I’m optimistic that things will improve. The ME/CFS research field is the strongest it’s been and there are good reasons to expect progress in understanding the illness – understanding that should drive the development of treatments.
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