The MEA have pledged £50,000 to support a UK clinical trial into Rituximab – following the news that Norwegian researchers now have government funding for a phase-3 clinical trial.
And our Ramsay Research Fund will ring-fence extra donations for Rituximab research for two years while we wait to find out if such a trial can be organised. This summer, we have already received a donation of £8,000 towards such a study.
“If we are unable to take this forward within the next two years, the money will then be used for other biomedical research funded by the Ramsay Research Fund,” said MEA medical adviser Dr Charles Shepherd.
There is now an urgent need to see if other clinical trials can be arranged outside Norway to see if the Norwegian results can be replicated in another lab.
The Norwegian work has given early indications that the drug has a measurable effect in treating the underlying disease process in at least some people with ME/CFS.
In a statement first put on the MEA website on July 8 – www.meassociation.org.uk/?p=16046 – Dr Shepherd says the efficacy and safety of the drug has to be demonstrated in multi-centre trials in order to get a product licence from the drug regulatory bodies, and then pass muster at NICE and The Scottish Medicines Consortium.
“What is so disappointing at this stage is that these replication trials are still not taking place‚ either here in the UK or elsewhere in the world,” said Dr Shepherd.
“This means that we are still several years away from looking at a product license for Rituximab, if it does turn out to be a safe and effective form of treatment for some people with ME/CFS.”
Anyone can now make a Rituximab research donation to the MEA Ramsay Research Fund, knowing it will be kept for that purpose for the next two years.
To donate to The MEA Ramsay Research Fund, send a cheque made out to The MEA Ramsay Research Fund to:
The ME Association
7 Apollo Office Court
Buckingham MK18 4DF
Or donate by credit/debit card by calling the MEA Buckingham office during office hours on 01280 818964 or 818968 and speaking to Gill or Helen.
When paying by cheque or calling the office to make a card payment, please specify that the donation is for the Rituximab trial.
All donations will be recorded by name (or anonymously if preferred) and the total listed at regular intervals on the MEA website.
All money donated to The MEA RRF is ring-fenced for research purposes. There are no salaries to pay and all the administrative expenses relating to our research projects are paid out of MEA general funds.