Simmaron Research blog post, by Cort Johnson, 4 August 2018: System Reset? Study Suggests Pro-Inflammatory / Autoimmune Reset Occurred in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
Epigenetics research holds the fascinating possibility of figuring out what shifted at the very beginning of chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). For many with ME/CFS a sudden change occurred – some sort of biological reset quickly happened – which never relinquished itself.
Finding out what “reset” occurred is what epigenetics is all about. Epigenetics identifies changes in the expression of our genes that occur after we meet up with biological stressors such as pathogens, drug, toxin or even foods.
Most of our genes that produce proinflammatory cytokines, for instance, have a kind of a lock on them. Removing that lock leaves them free to express themselves and leaves us open to poor health.
Epigenetics explores how the biological challenges we encounter in life can remove those locks (or add to them) resulting in an entirely new genetic landscape – one that could perhaps cause something like ME/CFS.
Many people’s ME/CFS/FM starts with an infection, and viruses can exert major epigenetic changes to our genome. Herpes simplex virus (the virus Dr. Pridgen is targeting in fibromyalgia) engineers changes to our genome which help the virus avoid destruction and enhance its replication. Those changes include a suppression of our immune system, which can result in an increased risk of cancer.
What goes around comes around, though. Epigenetic News recently reported that an epigenetic modifying cancer drug was able to return the parts of the immune system that the herpes simplex virus had disturbed to normal. The drug was able to effectively fill in the immune hole created by the herpes virus by boosting a number of immune factors (IFN-a, IL-8, IL-6, transcription factors, stress response factors). Mouse studies revealed that the drug also reduced reactivation of the virus.
That suggests that some similar drugs now in clinical trials could help in the fight against
herpes and other viruses or could perhaps simply return to normal epigenetically modified genes that have suppressed immune functioning.
“A new class of antivirals based on this study might be useful for patients who are resistant to existing antivirals like acyclovir and ganciclovir….. (or in) viral infections for which there aren’t pharmaceuticals to boost an individual’s immune response.” Dr Kristie
If epigenetics turns out to play the major role in ME/CFS that it does in cancer and other diseases, a cancer drug could someday be in store for ME/CFS treatment.