Researchers from Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway, have announced the efficacy of drug candidate, Rituximab in treating patients with lymphoma and myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).
Rituximab helps in the reduction of B-lymphocytes.
The placebo-controlled Phase II study comprised 30 ME/CFS patients who were randomised to either treatment with Rituximab or saline.
It was found that 10 out of 15 (67%) patients taking the Rituximab reported lasting improvements in self-reported ME/CFS symptoms, while two out of 15 (13%) patients receiving saline reported improvement.
Lead researchers and oncologists, Øystein Fluge and Olav Mella said B-cell depletion was associated with clinical improvement in two thirds of the patients and the delayed responses in Rituximab treatment suggest that CFS may be a form of autoimmune disease.