Update October 19, 2011: The Norwegian Rituxan study was published today.
I just received an email from Invest in ME explaining why the distribution of the conference DVDs of the Invest in ME conference in London in May of this year has been taking longer than expected. Apparently, two Norwegian researchers, Professor Olav Mella and Dr. Øystein Fluge, who presented at the conference are about to publish a “groundbreaking” paper and the DVDs are held back until happens in order to avoid jeopardizing the publication. Here is a quote from the Invest in ME email:
“This year as well we have the new research from the Haukeland University Hospital, Norway. Before the conference the Norwegian presenters, Professor Olav Mella and Dr Øystein Fluge, discussed with us the amount of data that they could present regarding their exciting new research. They wished to present as much as possible but did not wish to compromise the publication of their imminent paper. IiME promised that we would not distribute the DVD (including their presentation) until the Norwegian researchers gave the go-ahead due to the magnitude and implications of their research. In return Professor Mella and Dr Fluge were very open in their presentation and gave as much information as they could.
We do not wish to jeopardise their research publication so we are now awaiting news of their imminent publication before beginning the distribution of the DVD. Their paper is now completing the peer review process and we would rather wait a little longer before distribution begins in order that we can include this presentation on the DVD as well.
This has forced a delay but we hope everyone will understand the reason for this. The research by Professor Mella and Dr Fluge, experts in their own (non-ME) field, could be ground-breaking.” (Emphasis added)
Based on Mike Turris’ summary of the Invest in ME conference, I am guessing that this has to do with Prof. Fluge’s and Dr. Mella’s Rituxan study:
“Dr. Oystein Fluge and Professor Olav Mella were next with their hypothesis that at least a subset of CFS patients have an activated immune system as an autoimmune illness, and these people could benefit from a B-cell depletion therapy using Rituximab.”
Rituxan is a chemotherapy drug that depletes B cells.
Dr. Kogelnik, who first talked to me about Rituxan in January of this year, is currently doing his own Rituxan study. He was at the London conference, so he knows all about the results of the Norway study. All of this seems to suggest that the Norway Rituxan study was successful. Dr. Kogelnik also mentioned the study in his April talk:
“There’s been some researech in Norway with Rituxan. Rituxan is a B cell agent that wipes out B cells, which is one of the potential reservoirs especially for EBV or HHV-6, but also for other pathogens. There has been some great clinical success with Rituxan on a short-term basis, but there is no long-term data yet. Patients on Rituxan have had almost complete resolution of their symptoms within 24 hours. Unfortunately, after the drug wears off, the symptoms return. So the question to look at is what Rituxan is doing immunologically and how that can be sustained long term.”