An event held in Norwich in January 2017 gave the public a chance to hear about some of the biomedical research being undertaken on the debilitating condition ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis).
The event was hosted in conjunction with Invest in ME Research, a charity promoting biomedical research and education into ME, which is aiming to establish a UK centre of excellence, to improve ME diagnosis and coordinate research into treatments and cures.
The talks were introduced by Dr Ian Gibson, former MP for Norwich North and from the Invest in ME Research Advisory Board.
Speakers (click to jump to their talks)
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a chronic disease causing long-term health problems, characterised by severe exhaustion, as well as pain and dysfunction of the brain, gut and immune system. ME/CFS has no effective treatments, and its causes still remain unknown
Tackling ME, and bringing hope of relief to the estimated 250,000 sufferers in the UK needs high quality biomedical research and international collaboration.
Dr Øystein Fluge, a senior consultant and oncologist at Haukeland University Hospital in Norway spoke about ground-breaking research he is leading on Rituximab. This drug has been used to treat leukaemia and lymphoma, as it targets B-cells, a type of blood cell. In 2004, Dr Fluge noticed that ME patients being treated for lymphoma with Rituximab also saw substantial improvements in their ME symptoms. Subsequently pilot studies and a randomised, blinded, placebo controlled study also showed positive results, with a large, multi-site Phase III clinical study now running.
Dr Fluge was visiting Norwich to discuss future collaborations over another Rituximab trial being carried out on the Norwich Research Park with Professor Simon Carding. Professor Carding also introduced the audience to research in his own group, who are looking for causes and treatments for ME in the gut and its microbial communities. The Norwich Research Park is establishing itself as a hub for biomedical research into ME, in the UK and Europe and through international collaborations.
For more information, please follow Invest in Me Research and our own websites and social media channels. Whilst we are working closely with the group of Dr Oystein Fluge in Bergen, Norway to help with the development and planning of a trial in Norwich similar to the ones currently underway in Norway, if the results from the Norway trial are positive. The outcome of this trial is critical to determining what we would plan to do in Norwich. Until this is known, and we have consulted with clinical colleagues, it is impossible to say what a future Norwich trial will consist of, or what the recruitment process will be.