Mud slinging (Part 2)

May 12th is International Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. An event overlooked due to focus on the simultaneous campaign by ME/Chronic Fatigue syndrome’s National Association. Along with a supporting body, CFS sufferers are gaining understanding through research conducted at Griffith University by the National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases (NCNED). FM is getting sweet FA in Australia however. Remarkable disparity in attention given that fibro is a greater problem …. tenfold so actually, and a consequence of good fortune in assignment of specialty, due to a perception that CFS emerges after a virus. This issue was raised with three wise professors with expertise in immunology. Rheumatologist Rachelle Buchbinder declined to answer what investigations her association could possibly undertake, and confirmed the exclusivity of their tracking database for “…drugs in the treatment of inflammatory arthritis so again you are correct that it does not include people who have fibromyalgia”. Peter Roberts-Thomson was unable to respond to the question as to whether rheumatologists should have responsibility for FM research, but justified selection of ‘well-characterised disorders’ for their autoimmune bloods bank to search for antibodies…. “Fibromyalgia could well have immunological pathology but to date no diagnostic autoantibodies have been described.” Sounds like the wise lawyer who only ever asks questions to which they already know the answers? And Geoffrey Littlejohn stayed mute.3monkeys
Dr Skip Pridgen of Alabama’s IMC seems to think FM is immune mediated, pulling in $USD 3.3m funding to evaluate an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) and anti-viral combo trial. No argument there from the neurologists, they’ve learnt the basics of post-herpetic neuralgia at school. The costing is all the greater since FDA guidelines do not recognize there being an unmet medical need for fibro, which could have justified an Expedited Program (I’ll concede that their last ruling was against a proposal for GHB – notorious as a date rape drug!). Of course, their CFS Guidelines for CFS/ME drug development drafted this month declares there being an unmet medical need. Given the stonewalling of FM research, what point can there possibly be in forming a national association here – since where would contributions be directed in order to achieve any good? Perhaps a question better answered by Prof Mark Hutchinson (Tall Poppy science Awardee 2010) at his Neuroimmunopharmacology lab in Adelaide Uni. Whose discovery that naloxone can suppress microglia activity in the brain and prevent proinflammatory cytokine release directly led to two successful trials of naltrexone for fibromyalgia at Stanford Uni. Approval remains roadblocked by the FDA however, giving Australia another chance to show initiative to the world. No, seriously… it happened once upon a time!

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