A new blood test for fibromyalgia is more accurate than previously thought and will not confuse the chronic pain disorder with other diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, according to the physician who developed the test.
“We have not seen any overlap between the biomarkers in fibromyalgia and the immune system patterns of patients with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. That really takes the air out of the sails of any naysayers that are out there,” said Bruce Gillis, MD, founder and CEO of EpicGenetics, a bioresearch company based in Santa Monica, CA.
EpicGenetics introduced the FM test in March, calling it the first definitive blood test for fibromyalgia, a poorly understood disorder that is characterized by deep tissue pain, fatigue, headaches, depression and lack of sleep. Test results are usually available in about a week.
The FM test looks for protein molecules in the blood called chemokines and cytokines, which are produced by white blood cells. Fibromyalgia patients have fewer chemokines and cytokines in their blood, according to Gillis, and as a result have weaker immune systems than normal patients.
Critics have said the same immune system biomarkers can be found in people with other illnesses, such as rheumatoid arthritis, making the blood test unreliable.