Recently the first paper was published from IiME-funded research which was initiated by IiME and supporters at University College London (UCL) .
We asked Dr Jo Cambridge and Fane Mensah from the UCL team to explain, in layman's terms, what the paper was describing.
This was their 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.
Invest in ME continue to raise funds for biomedical research into ME.
Thanks to mulitiple generous acts from individuals and organisations (click here) and the amazing generosity from the Hendrie Foundation
who have pledged a huge sum toward the rituximab trial and B-cell research, then Invest in ME has managed at the time of this article,
to raise £477,000 for the total research either performed, underway or coming to be performed.
As we described in an earlier article we are managing to change the landscape of research into ME once and for all.
Thanks to everyone who has supported our strategy of high quality biomedical research, international collaboration and the development of the Centre of Excellence for ME
which is gathering pace.
Our strategy of interational collaboration in biomedical research is making others take notice.
We therefore invite support for the charity as it continues its quest for maintaining and enhancing the foundation of biomedical research into ME which has been formed.
Please help us by supporting our continuing efforts.
Fundraising's UK Rituximab Clinical Trial and B-cell Research
1. Extended B cell phenotype in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: a cross-sectional study.
and click here
2. Antibodies to ß adrenergic and muscarinic cholinergic receptors in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
3. Investing in ME Research
4. Haukeland Phase II rituximab clinical trial
5. ME/CFS – Through The Eyes of a Young Researcher
6. Progress of the B-cell Research Project
7. IiME Announce New Target for B-Cell PhD Studentship
8. IIMEC11 and BRMEC6
9. The IiME Proposal for a Centre of Excellence for ME
10. The European ME Research Group