When Invest in ME announced in June that we were
planning a UK trial of rituximab for ME there was a
great deal of interest raised.
The rituximab trial follows the exciting work which
has been, and is being performed in Norway by the
Haukeland University hospital researchers Professor
Olav Mella and Dr Oystein Fluge.
Since these excellent Norwegian researchers came to
present at the Invest in ME conferences in 2011 we
have followed their progress, and invited them back
every year for our BRMEC researchers meetings and
The research work has been backed up by impressive
and dedicated patient advocacy by the Norwegian ME
Forening which has raised the profile of ME in
Norway and throughout the world. Their tireless work
has encouraged IiME. The more recent success of the
ME and You campaign to raise funds for the Norwegian
research has created real hope amongst patients.
At the IIMEC7 conference IiME announced our
intention to work toward establishing a clinical
trial of rituximab in UK .
In updates published through July and August IiME
has stated that all that is required for the trial
to proceed is the funding. In the spirit of
cooperation we have stated that support for the
trial was welcome and that IiME would acknowledge
all such support.
Our supporters have risen to the occasion and
valiantly supported the IiME - UK trial with
wonderful enthusiasm. The imaginative Letís Do It
For ME campaign has continued to produce ideas to
raise funds and awareness and The MATRIX is an
example of a unique method of achieving both.
We have had donations from around the world, ranging
from £1 to £3,000. We have had a very generous
donation of £25,000 from a foundation and this has
allowed the funds raised to grow to £59,000 in a
very short space of time. We have also had fantastic
moral support from a great many.
As such, IiME and our supporters have managed to
initiate and organise something which many thought
was not possible.
IiME made it clear from the beginning that we
welcomed support for the IiME - UK clinical trial
from other organisations. Our objective is to ensure
that a clinical trial of rituximab is allowed to be
performed by the best researchers possible and to
ensure that this trial makes a valuable contribution
to the collective research pool. This is why we have
been keen from the beginning, and since our
inception as a charity, to initiate collaboration
with other like-minded international charities and
organisations, and build collaborations between ME
researchers across continents.
We believe in achieving results by the most direct
method, where possible. For IiME the issue of making
rapid progress in ME research is important, it is
personal. The need is here - the need is now.
We arranged a specific web site which has been set
up to inform on all aspects of the UK rituximab
trial. This is at -
and we reiterated the current status 
We have the facilities available.
We have the researchers available.
We have the best expertise possible available.
We have the means of fundraising for this trial
available (see The MATRIX [3
) and we have a campaign to raise funds
We have emphasised that the
only remaining element required was funding
We have reached this position thanks to the vision,
efforts and help from Professor Edwards, Dr
Cambridge, UCL and our supporters.
Thanks to the amazing efforts of our supporters we
have been able to agree already to initiate a
preliminary study on B-cells at UCL.
Professor Edwards will shortly visit Bergen Ė a trip
arranged by IiME as part of our collaborative
attempts to unite researchers and build on
We can now announce that IiME have been given a
pledge of £200,000 from a foundation to supplement
the amount we have raised already.
This would bring our rituximab fund to almost
£260,000 Ė that is over two-thirds of the
requirement for the clinical trial to proceed.
The foundation has two conditions to this pledge
The trustees of IiME accepted these conditions
We are thankful and grateful for this
extraordinarily generous offer from the donating
foundation. It is an amazing gesture from
compassionate and caring people who want to make a
difference. It allows the hopes of many patients to
become a reality Ė allows a vision to be maintained
that there is a future for ME patients and that we,
patients and families, can make a difference.
We have communicated this to the UCL team with whom
we are working to make this trial a reality.
We are now distributing this information to our
There were many who doubted that IiME and our
supporters could achieve this. Though we knew this
would be a daunting task we have never doubted it
We continue our efforts to raise the remaining
To our supporters who have been with us since the
beginning and everyone who has contributed in so
many ways to this trial we want you to know this is
your result. It is what you have achieved. It is
what we have achieved together.
We thank all those who are supporting this trial and
we will continue to provide information on the
status of the trial as we progress.
We continue to welcome support. Please contact IiME
directly if you or your organisation would like to
assist or contribute.
If anyone would like to ask any questions about the
UK rituximab trial then please use the Contact form
on the rituximab web site .
A status is available .
With this trial we can take a huge leap forward in
If you are also interested in the other research
projects that Invest in ME is organising and/or
funding please see our main website and free
Letís Do Research! Letís Do It For ME!