Once a fibromyalgia diagnosis is confirmed, the second question that many people with the disease often ask is “How did and why did I develop it?”
Recent studies have begun to recognize that there is likely to be a genetic component to fibromyalgia, yet there have been no robust or comprehensive genetic studies to better understand this potential link.
In 2017, EpicGenetics announced the initiation of Campaign 250, which seeks to identify and better understand the genetic origins of fibromyalgia. Campaign 250 represents the largest and most ambitious global study to investigate fibromyalgia’s genetic origins, as well as to develop a treatment protocol addressing the underlying biology of the disease.
EpicGenetics will offer whole exome genetic surveys to FM/a® test-positive patients in a search for fibromyalgia-specific gene markers and mutations, analogous to the BRCA1/BRCA2 model for breast cancer. Under contract with researchers from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the University of Illinois College of Medicine Chicago (UIC), Campaign 250 will conduct these genetic surveys on up to 250,000 patients who have received a positive FM/a® Test fibromyalgia diagnosis. All direct testing costs will be covered by EpicGenetics, though a small registration fee will apply for study participants.
The whole exome genetic surveys will enable researchers the ability to compare the DNA of individuals with fibromyalgia to the DNA of healthy individuals. This approach has been used throughout medical research to identify the root genetic cause for many diseases, and it is now being deployed to better understand fibromyalgia and potentially locate a direct treatment that not only addresses the symptoms of the disease, but also its cause. This would be a critical first step toward relief for fibromyalgia patients.
Based upon the findings of this testing and once treatment protocols have received regulatory and institutional approvals, any patient who has received a positive FM/a® Test result may elect to participate in a fibromyalgia-specific vaccine clinical trial. This vaccine trial will be conducted by Denise Faustman, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Immunobiology Laboratory at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a noted immunologist at the Harvard Medical School. This planned clinical trial will take place at the Massachusetts General Hospital and will test the potential of the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine to effectively and directly treat fibromyalgia.
The goals of Campaign 250 are nothing short of ambitious. With this campaign, EpicGenetics seeks to effectively change the understanding of fibromyalgia’s cause and develop a direct treatment that finally acts upon that cause rather than simply masking the symptoms.
More information, including how to participate in Campaign 250, can be found at www.EpicGenetics.com and in the downloadable brochure at http://fmtest.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/EpicGenetics_Brochure.pdf.