ME/CFS RESEARCH: THE SECOND QUARTER OF 2019 IN REVIEW

An interactive guide to the promising new discoveries of 2019

By Rochelle Joslyn (PhD)

Edited by Allison Ramiller (MPH)

The second quarter of 2019 brought both an impressive number of ME/CFS publications and highly meaningful content. The momentum in this field is palpable with even a quick glance at this quarter’s literature. Importantly, ME/CFS was represented in high-profile, widely read journals. Perhaps most notably, an entire issue of Frontiers in Pediatrics was devoted exclusively to ME/CFS articles.

Two highly anticipated studies delivered progress on two of the most pressing fronts in the ME/CFS field: objective biomarker identification and clinical trials. A preliminary description of a novel test provides objective evidence of cellular dysfunction in ME/CFS versus healthy controls with perfect sensitivity and holds promise for the development of a diagnostic test. However, the long-awaited analysis of a failed phase 3 trial of the B-cell depleting antibody rituximab left the ME/CFS community disappointed and scientists scratching their heads over placebo effects and possible responder subgroups.

Encouragingly, sustained progress is apparent in successful follow-up studies that build on prior promising results, expand the range of measurements used with a proven protocol, replicate findings in new cohorts, and tackle comprehensive assessments in large sample sizes. All in all, Q2 has delivered incredibly meaningful discoveries, many pieces of objective evidence of serious disease, and has positioned ME/CFS as bona fide field of study with myriad unanswered questions and tantalizing scientific opportunities.

For a PDF of the Q2 research summary, click here.

 

 

Note: the use of ME/CFS or CFS is in accordance with the criteria used to include cases in the study