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New Spanish M.E. Patient-Led Immune Biomarker Study

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Press Release: PARS, February 2, 2016. We are happy to announce that ASSSEMBiomedics, a new ME patient led research and treatment group in Barcelona, Spain, is starting a new ME Immune Biomarker research study with samples from 100 people with ME and from 100 healthy controls.

With this new study ASSSEMBiomedics wants to corroborate the preliminary results shown by a previous study by Barcelona’s IrsiCaixa Research Lab, led by Dr Julian Blanco’s team, with whom ASSSEMBiomedics has a close relationship. ASSSEMBiomedics, along with other ME patients’ groups were the ones that helped finance the IrsiCaixa’s ME Tregs study through a Crowdfunding in 2014.

ASSSEMBiomedics did a preliminary ME immune biomarker study with 200 ME patients over the past two years, (results of which cannot be published as it was a tentative study without an ethics committee). But the results were promising! They showed, in people with ME, an inverse relationship of the two Natural Killer markers, a relationship which had not yet been discovered between CD57s and NKp46s. This could indicate profiles of viral reactivation of EBV and CMV in people with ME.

This aspect was pointed out to ASSSEMBiomedics by the new Natural Killer Expert Group in Barcelona, under the leadership of Dr Lopez-Botet, experts in NKs and who are the co-discoverers of the biomarker NKG2C. (They are not researching on ME, despite their interest in ASSSEMBiomedics’ work).

ASSSEMBiomedics thinks that they can determine these new biomarkers in NK cells (NKG2C, NKG2A, KIR-ILT2) in people with ME in their new study, and that it would be coherent with how Rituximab works and with the percentage of health improvement that the Norwegians have been able to achieve (2/3): reactivation of EBV in B Lymphocytes and autoimmunity.

The ASSSEMBiomedics’ team is led immunologist Dr Milagros García-Ormaetxea, specialist in autoimmune illnesses in the Barcelona Clinic Hospital. The blood samples will be taken at the Centro de Diagnóstico Biomédico in that hospital.

For this new project ASSSEMBiomedics needs 18,000 euros and that is why they have initiated a Crowdfunding campaign which will end in two months (March 24).

ASSSEMBiomedics has no government nor private sector funding. It is totally funded by donations from ME patients and their allies. 18,000 euros might not seem a lot in some other countries but in Spain, with such low salaries, high unemployment and lack of patient pensions, that amount is staggering.

That is why ASSSEMBiomedics is turning to ME associations in other countries. Also, as the results will benefit ME patients all over the world, perhaps ME associations in other countries will want to help out.

Any donation would be of great help, as the size of the sample depends on the amount of funds obtained, and the simple size is crucial so that the results will be relevant. We would like to be able to apply the results of the study for clinical diagnosis as soon as possible.

This is an ME patient led and funded research project so there might not be much money available but there is a lot of motivation and enthusiasm!

You can read more about the study and donate HERE.

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