A new blood test for fibromyalgia is more accurate than previously thought and 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 not seen any overlap between biomarkers in fibromyalgia and patterns of immune system of patients with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Really the air of the sails of critics who 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, calling it the first definitive blood test for fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized misunderstood by a deep tissue pain, fatigue, headaches, depression and lack of sleep. The results are usually available in about a week.
FM test is to protein molecules in cytokine and chemokine called blood, which are produced by white blood cells. Patients with fibromyalgia have fewer cytokines and chemokines in the blood, according to Gillis, and as a result have weaker immune systems 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 analysis.
However, in a new study over 300 patients with fibromyalgia or, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis participated, Gillis said it was found that only patients with fibromyalgia have below normal levels of chemokines and cytokines.
“They do not have the same biological markers of the immune system. Not at all, “Gillis said National Pain Report. “The patterns we see in lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, see this inflammatory process. But we do not see the same biomarkers in fibromyalgia. ”
Gillis said the investigation is not yet final and waiting for publication in a peer-reviewed medical journal in the coming months.
When first introduced the FM test, EpicGenetics said it was 93% accuracy in the diagnosis of fibromyalgia.Gillis says 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 more around the world – but so far only a few hundred have registered to take the test FM. Gillis says the cost $ 744, which is generally not covered by health insurance, could be a barrier for many patients.
“A lot of people who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia do not work.And because they do not work do not have the means to pay for a test. They have no health insurance, “Gillis said, adding that some insurers have paid for proof in workers’ compensation cases.
“When we started, it cost us $ 12,500 to analyze the parameters of the immune system of a patient. So we’ve brought the price way, way down. ”
Gillis hopes to bring the price of FM test to the licensing of other laboratories for blood collection and blood samples for EpicGenetics ship.
Regardless of the cost, patients with fibromyalgia are excited that a simple test may eventually 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 be diagnosed fibromyalgia.
“Having a reliable marker of blood will only VALIDATE as patients. a field of dreams and possibilities for compassionate researchers on the definition of this terrible disorder will open, “said Celeste Cooper, a patient with fibromyalgia and patient advocate.
“Once we have a biological test, we know that the study participants do have fibromyalgia. There will be no biased results, and in the mouth of psychological illness will be in our rearview mirror. This is a salty thought. ”
In recent months, there have been several potential advances in research of fibromyalgia.
Researchers at Ohio State are in the early stages of development of other blood tests for fibromyalgia. Using an infrared microscope high power, which have identified a pattern of molecules in the blood appears to be unique to patients with fibromyalgia.
Another team of researchers in the state of New York has found that patients with fibromyalgia have excess sensory nerve fibers in 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 on the success of fibromyalgia through analysis of blood markers. Now seems to introduce a form realm beyond more than a debate, “says Cooper.
“It is a victory for the scientific community and a win 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 living 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 disorder.
EpicGenetics is saving many of the blood samples received from patients taking the exam FM, hoping to someday have them analyzed for RiboNucleicAcid (RNA), molecules involved in protein synthesis and transmission genetic information.
“Patients more we have, the more RNA that can look for markers of genes. If we can get thousands and thousands of copies, it will be much easier to find specific genetic markers, “says Gillis.