Treatment Study of Antiviral Drug
Excerpted from a press release from Stanford University Medical Center:
STANFORD, California—A preliminary study suggests there may be hope in the offing for some sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) with a new therapy being tested by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Jose Montoya, MD, associate professor of medicine (infectious diseases), and postdoctoral scholar Andreas Kogelnik, MD, PhD, have used the drug valganciclovir—an antiviral often used in treating diseases caused by human herpes viruses—to treat a small number of CFS patients.
The researchers said they treated 25 patients during the last three years, 21 of whom responded with significant improvement that was sustained even after going off the medication at the end of the treatment regimen, which usually lasts six months. The first patient has now been off the drug for almost three years and has had no relapses. A paper describing the first dozen patients Montoya and Kogelnik treated with the drug was published in the December issue of Journal of Clinical Virology.
Montoya has received a $1.3 million grant from Roche Pharmaceutical, which manufactures the drug under the brand name Valcyte, to conduct a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study set to begin this quarter at Stanford. The study will assess the effectiveness of the drug in treating a subset of CFS patients.
Montoya is speaking about his efforts at the biannual meeting of the International Association for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Fort Lauderdale on January 11 and 12.
Montoya and Kogelnik emphasized that even if their new clinical trial validates the use of valganciclovir in treating some CFS patients, the drug may not be effective in all cases. In fact, the trial will assess the effectiveness of the medication among a specific subset of CFS patients; namely, those who have viral-induced dysfunction of the central nervous system.
Of the two dozen patients Montoya and Kogelnik initially treated, the ones that responded all had developed CFS after an initial flulike illness, while the “non-responders” had suffered no initial flu.
Editor’s note: The trial will enroll 30 patients and is expected to start in February 2007. Participation is limited to those currently living in the San Francisco Bay area. More information about the clinical trial is available online at http://mednews.stanford.edu/releases/2007/january/montoya.html.