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Just Ask!  An NCF Column for Inquiring Patients

By Prof. Alan Cocchetto

The "Just Ask" column is intended to act as a means for patients to inquire about issues related to the NCF's research activities.  This column is NOT intended to act as medical advice in any way, shape or form!  The National CFIDS Foundation assumes no responsibility for any action or treatment undertaken by readers.  For medical advice, please consult with your own personal healthcare providers.

Q: Could you please share with us what specific projects the NCF has funded with Dr.
Hokama at the University of Hawaii's Department of Pathology?  Also, how did the
NCF initially conclude that the ciguatera epitope might be destructive to red blood
cells? (Internet question)
A: The NCF funded three separate research projects with Dr. Yoshitsugi Hokama. These three grants totaled $100,000 and were funded directly from the NCF's Research Grant Program. The first project was titled "Extraction of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) Sera for Lipids Interacting with MAb-CTX with Ciguatoxin Epitopes: Potential Serum Assay for CFS."
The second project was titled "Purification and Biological Characteristics of the
Acute Phase Lipid in CFS, CCFP, and Other Diseases."  The third project was titled "Development of an Immunological Assay for Assessment of Amyloid in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and other Disease Sera." Note that some of this research work is currently ongoing. However, other peer-reviewed publications are in the pipeline and as such are anticipated to be published. As for the ciguatera epitope and red cell destruction, Dr. Hokama had published an article titled "Evidence for Palytoxin as One of the Sheep Erythrocyte Lytic Factors in Crude Extracts of Ciguateric and Non-Ciguateric Reef Fish Tissue."  This assisted the NCF in discerning whether or not a toxin could potentially cause red blood cell destruction. As such, the NCF requested that Dr. Hokama apply the ciguatera epitope, derived from CFS patient sera, to the test previously developed for red cell lysis assessment. The ciguatera epitope, as was reported in the last issue of the NCF's Forum newsletter, was found to kill red blood cells in this assay.

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