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


Sent to:

Health Minister Hon. Leona Aglukaaq : leona.aglukkaq@parl.gc.ca,
NDP Health Critic MP Libby Davies : libby.davies@parl.gc.ca
Liberal Health Critic MP Hedy Fry: hedy.fry@parl.gc.ca 
Interim Liberal Leader MP Bob Rae: RaeB@parl.gc.ca
MP Mauril Belanger (Ottawa-Vanier) : BelanM@parl.gc.ca

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" (www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0026358). 

This is a link to an article in New Scientist about the discovery. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21065-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-eased-by-cancer-drug.html 

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. 

Sincerely, 

Andrea Martell