Call for Candian Government to hold Rituximab Clinical Trials for ME/CFS patients

Sent to:

Health Minister Hon. Leona Aglukaaq :,
NDP Health Critic MP Libby Davies :
Liberal Health Critic MP Hedy Fry: 
Interim Liberal Leader MP Bob Rae:
MP Mauril Belanger (Ottawa-Vanier) :

Dear Minister of Health, and Members of Parliament, 

I'm writing to you all today to ask you to hold Clinical trials for a  cancer drug (Rituximab) that has been found to alleviate the symptoms of ME/CFS patients. 

In a recent study, 67% of ME/CFS patients taking the cancer drug Rituximab had the symptoms of ME/CFS alleviated and in two cases go into complete remission. You can read the study here: "Benefit from B-Lymphocyte Depletion Using the Anti-CD20 Antibody Rituximab in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. A Double-Blind and Placebo-Controlled Study" ( 

This is a link to an article in New Scientist about the discovery. 

This blinded study was only done with a small number of patients, and larger studies are needed to discover its effectiveness on ME/CFS patients. ME/CFS patients are housebound, bedridden, some unable to talk, read, or write. A moment cannot be wasted to  change the lives of these patients. 

ME/CFS Facts: 

-There are more than 400, 000 ME/CFS patients in Canada.
- ME refers to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and CFS refers to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It is widely known as ME/CFS.
-The World Health Organization classifies ME/CFS as a neurological illness at G93.3
- The cause of the disease is unknown.
- Patients lives are drastically changed by this disease as they lose jobs, homes, spouses, and family support due to the stigma of this illness.
- Patients are often too sick to care for themselves, but there is no standard treatment, no drug, and little to no economic or social support for patients with this illness. 
- Patients are a great loss to the economy in lost productivity and cost of care. 
- A Drug that actually treats the disease of ME/CFS is needed to treat this devastating a debilitating disease. 

The company in Canada responsible for Rituximab is Hoffmann-La Roche. 

I would like to call on this government and its opposition to support Clinical Trials for ME/CFS patients in Canada with Rituximab to move this important research forward in hopes that in time there could be a drug to treat ME/CFS patients. 


Andrea Martell 

1 comment:

  1. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complicated yet unknown medical condition which is characterized by at least six months of extreme fatigue and also known as systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID). The fatigue is not reduced by rest and may worsen or be worsened by physical or mental exertion.
    The first thing to know about it chronic fatigue syndrome is that it’s an illness. The Institute of Medicine classifies it as a disease as it is characterized by abnormally low levels of energy deficit and they say that people should take it seriously. Apart from physical exhaustion, cognitive issues are also impaired and to such an extent that you may have difficulty putting a sentence together or reading something out of a book.
    The causes of chronic fatigue are yet unknown, although there are theories on how and why it happens. One of the common theories is that it is caused by viral infections. Experts say that mononucleosis (an abnormally high count of white blood cells in the body) may trigger the disease. It starts with flu like symptoms that keep growing worse over time.
    Inflammation has also been known to trigger chronic fatigue and simply walking for a few minutes can cause unusually high inflammation although, again it is unknown where this inflammatory response originates from.
    Chronic fatigue comes and goes as it wills. Experts say that people first develop it in their 20s or 30s. After a few months or years it disappears only to unfortunately resurface later in life, especially menopause seems to recur another phase of chronic fatigue.
    The problem is that most doctors don’t know much about it because the disease is not included in the medical curriculum so it goes unfamiliar with many doctors and this makes it difficult for them to find answers. But some experts have blamed it on poor nutrition, especially junk food, and the commonly observed sedentary lifestyle of nearly every person.
    Again, what is unfortunate is that there are treatments for it but none are FDA approved because proper certified studies and clinical trials have not been conducted and ultimately doctors are forced to provide medications for pain and fatigue which are not specifically for chronic fatigue.

    Reference :