A $200,000 grant from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has been awarded for a study seeking to identify antibody biomarkers for ME/CFS. The Bateman Horne Center will partner with Armin Alaedini, PhD on this important research.
We know ME/CFS is a very heterogeneous condition with different causes and different constellation of symptoms. There is evidence for a least six ME/CFS subtypes and it would be important to identify and treat these various subtypes accordingly. Biomarkers can be used to identify ME/CFS biomarker subtypes and a promising biomarker is antibodies. Antibodies are proteins that our body’s immune system produces in response to things like viruses or bacteria. We also know that our immune system can produce antibodies against parts of our own cells and tissues, a potentially harmful response called autoimmunity. Our body can also produce antibodies to food proteins like wheat gluten. Antibody biomarkers could be used to delineate a viral ME/CFS subtype from an autoimmune ME/CFS subtype from gastrointestinal ME/CFS subtype.
A few years ago I started working with Armin Alaedini, PhD from Columbia University to determine if there were antibodies being produced against central nervous system proteins in ME/CFS patients but did not find any. Because some ME/CFS patients have “gut issues”, Alaedini examined whether there was a distinct intestinal immune response in ME/CFS. Indeed, his preliminary data demonstrated that in a subgroup of ME/CFS patients with gastrointestinal symptoms there were more antibodies to wheat gluten (this manuscript is in preparation).
Using this preliminary data, Dr. Alaedini proposed a study to further characterize the intestinal immune response in ME/CFS and examine whether it could be associated with bacteria moving across the gut and instigating inflammation. He submitted his application in January 2015 for the NIH ME/CFS funding opportunity (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-12-033.html) and just received word that he was awarded $200,000 from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for this grant!
Read the study abstract, here: https://goo.gl/yPc6e3.
For too long, research in ME/CFS has been lean and under-funded for several reasons, including the shortage of accurately diagnosed patients available for research studies. The Bateman Horne Center – a clinic specializing in ME/CFS/FM and with a large number of patients who have been carefully and accurately diagnosed, and continue to be treated effectively – will partner with Dr. Alaedini to provide additional well-characterized samples from ME/CFS patients and controls. In addition, we connected Dr. Alaedini with Drs. Sanjay Shukla and Dane Cook. Alaedini will be testing the blood samples Shukla’s team (https://goo.gl/JLdmMa) collected before and after exercise to examine the intestinal immune response and antibodies as biomarkers of post-exertional malaise.
The Bateman Horne Center is committed to bringing ME/CFS and FM into the mainstream of clinical and medical science. Identifying biomarkers is a critical first step. The Bateman Horne Center is a unique example of an independent non-profit integrative health center where medical care informs research, and research informs medical care. We are uniquely positioned to create collaborations between amazing, well-qualified patients and stellar research partners – an important component to progress.
We’ve got a big job to do and we need more patients and researchers involved in research to make objective diagnosis and treatment a reality for all impacted by ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia. Until that day, all “wild sock wearing” feet on deck!
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