Diagnostic Blood Test for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome May Be On the Horizon

Karen Lee Richards Health Guide
  • At the IACFS/ME Biennial Conference in September and again during an October 27 conference call, Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. presented new research data on a diagnostic blood test for chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) that they have developed with Chronix Biomedical, Inc.    

    The aim of the research was to find signature DNA sequences from patients with ME/CFS compared to healthy controls with respect to their diagnostic predictive value.  The Chronix technology used for the study is able to analyze DNA released into the bloodstream by dying and damaged cells and has the potential to detect genomic alterations unique to diseased cells.

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    DNA extracted from serum samples of ME/CFS patients and normal healthy controls was sequenced and compared to the human genome.  A total of about 10,000 high-quality sequence reads were generated from each serum sample. 

    Four genes were identified that separated ME/CFS patients from the normal control group. 

    These results support additional studies done with a larger CFS cohort using more powerful sequencing techniques.

    In addition to the obvious benefits of being able to accurately diagnose and evaluate ME/CFS patients, Hemispherx is hoping this blood test will also help them identify the ME/CFS patients that will respond best to their experimental drug Ampligen®, for which they are seeking FDA approval. 

    My Thoughts...

    The possibility of a blood test that could aid in the diagnosis and treatment of ME/CFS is terribly exciting.  And the idea that Hemispherx wants to use this test to find the ME/CFS patients who would be most likely to have a positive response to Ampligen makes me think that it may have the potential to differentiate between possible subsets of ME/CFS. 

    Gene sequencing has been touted as the future of medicine since we entered the 21st century, but I think many of us are just now beginning to get a glimpse of its huge potential.  Hopefully one day it can be used to get faster and more accurate diagnoses for ME/CFS, fibromyalgia and so many other chronic pain illnesses. 

    Hemispherx Biopharma Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Conference Call. October 27, 2011.
    Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. Press Release. September 26, 2011.

Published On: November 09, 2011