A new blood test for fibromyalgia is more accurate than thought and do not confuse the chronic pain disorder with other diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, according to the doctor who developed the test.
“We have seen no overlap between biomarkers in fibromyalgia and the immune system models of patients with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Really look the sails of critics that are out there need, “said Bruce Gillis, MD, founder and CEO of EpicGenetics a biopharmaceutical company based in Santa Monica, CA.
EpicGenetics FM introduced the test in March, qualifying the first definitive blood test for fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by poorly understood deep tissue pain, fatigue, headaches, depression and lack of sleep. The results are usually available in about a week.
FM test to protein molecules in cytokines and so-called blood chemokines, which are produced by white blood cells. Fibromyalgia patients have fewer cytokines and chemokines in the blood, according to Gillis, and as a result have a weakened immune system from normal patients.
Critics have said the same biological markers of the immune system can be found in people with other diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, so reliable blood test.
However, in a new study of more than 300 patients with fibromyalgia or, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis participated, Gillis said it was found that only fibromyalgia patients have below normal levels of chemokines and cytokines.
“They do not have the same biological markers of the immune system. Not at all, “said Gillis National Report of Pain. “The models we see in lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, see this inflammatory process. But we do not see the same biomarkers in fibromyalgia. ”
Gillis says the investigation is not yet final and is pending publication in a medical journal in the coming months.
When the first time the FM test, EpicGenetics said it was 93% accurate in the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Gillis says that the sensitivity of the test is now estimated at 99%, which is almost the same as the test used to diagnose HIV.
The National Institutes of Health estimates that 5 million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia – and millions around the world – but so far, only a few hundred are enrolled to take the test FM. Gillis says the cost of $ 744, which is generally not covered by health insurance, could be a barrier for many patients.
“Many people who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia do not work. And because they do not work they can not afford to pay for a test. They have no health insurance, “said Gillis, adding that some insurers have paid the evidence in workers compensation cases.
“When we started, it cost us $ 12,500 to analyze the parameters of a patient’s immune system. So we brought the price way, way down. ”
Gillis hopes to bring back the price of the FM test to the approval of other laboratories for blood collection and blood samples for EpicGenetics ship.
Whatever the cost, fibromyalgia patients are excited that a simple test could possibly be available to diagnose a disorder that your doctors and loved ones are often skeptical about. It takes three to five years for the average patient to diagnose fibromyalgia.
“Having a reliable marker of blood will NOT VALIDATE as patients. a field of dreams and possibilities for sympathetic researchers on the definition of this terrible disorder will open, “said Celeste Cooper, a fibromyalgia patient and patient advocate.
“Once we have a bioassay, we know that study participants have fibromyalgia. There will be no biased results, and in the mouth the psychological illness will be in our rearview mirror. This is a salty thought. ”
In recent months, there have been several potential advances in the search for fibromyalgia.
Researchers at Ohio State are in the early stages of developing other blood tests for fibromyalgia. Using a high-power infrared microscope, which have identified a pattern of molecules in the blood seems to be unique for fibromyalgia patients.
Another team of researchers in the state of New York found that fibromyalgia patients have excess sensory nerve fibers in the blood vessels of the hands, which can disrupt the flow of blood throughout the body.
“In less than six months, we have two studies reporting the success of fibromyalgia through the analysis of blood markers. Now, seems to be introducing a realm of form beyond more than one debate, “says Cooper.
“It is a victory for the scientific community and a victory for the patient. I doubt that this is the last. Expect more research, because the race is on “and what a glorious career will be for those of us who live with fibromyalgia daily.
The research could also lead to the discovery of a genetic marker for fibromyalgia – a gene that makes some people more likely to develop the disease.
EpicGenetics saves a lot of the blood samples received from patients taking the FM exam, hoping to have one day analyzed them for RiboNucleicAcid (RNA), molecules involved in protein synthesis and transmission genetic information.
“The more patients we have, the more RNA that can search for gene markers. If we can get thousands and thousands of copies, it will be much easier to find specific genetic markers, “says Gillis.