Immunoadsorption - a Potential Treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)

Blood purification treatment being studied in Germany for ME/CFS

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    Immunoadsorption is a possible immune treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) being studied in Germany. Similar to plasmaphoresis, immunoadsorption is a blood purification technique which removes IgG autoantibodies and other pathogenic substances from the blood.

    It’s an expensive treatment (about $20,000) sometimes used in multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.

    Dr. Carmen Scheibenbogen’s small immunoadsorption trial used ME/CFS patients which the CellTrend test indicated had high antibody levels. The treatment did what it was supposed to do – it significantly reduced antibody levels for at least six months. More importantly it improved symptoms in most patients with some patients recovering
    Three patients were still in remission a year after the treatment ended. One person completely recovered for 6-7 weeks but then relapsed and could hardly walk again.

    The trial suggested autoimmunity may be a key player in a subset of ME/CFS patients but much work remains before the therapy could be consistently used in ME/CFS. A follow-up study is beginning. If that trial is successful Scheibenbogen hopes to find funding for a large randomized, placebo-controlled trial. She reported that the company that produces the immunoadsorption treatment is quite interested in ME/CFS.

    Immunoadsorption is not available in the U.S.