CFIDS Association announces its research grants

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by tansy, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. tansy

    tansy New Member i.e.

    New Research Will Benefit Four Million Americans Suffering from Chronic
    Fatigue Syndrome

    By: PR Newswire
    Dec. 3, 2008 03:00 PM

    CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The four million Americans who
    suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have new reason for hope today
    with the announcement of an unprecedented research program to help identify
    biomarkers for the illness and improve diagnosis and treatment of CFS. The
    announcement was made by the CFIDS Association of America, which is funding
    the program, called the Accelerate CFS Research Initiative.

    As part of this initiative, the CFIDS Association also announced today
    research grants totaling $647,940 to six research teams in the U.S. and

    "These awards represent a new approach to CFS research," said Suzanne
    Vernon, PhD, the CFIDS Association's scientific director. "Instead of each
    investigator working in isolation, we are building a network of researchers
    and a framework for data sharing and collaboration not only among
    researchers who receive grants from the CFIDS Association, but among
    scientists worldwide."

    Vernon, a microbiologist who helped pioneer the application of genomics to
    CFS, is now working to pioneer this new CFS research network and to direct
    the Accelerate CFS Research Initiative. "We were very impressed with the
    number and caliber of grant proposals we received this year, which signals a
    heightened level of interest in CFS research," said Vernon. "CFS, once shied
    away from by some researchers, is now considered a legitimate and
    challenging field of scientific inquiry."

    The grant recipients are:

    -- Gordon Broderick, PhD, of the University of Alberta in Canada, who will
    study the immune and endocrine response in adolescent patients who became
    ill with CFS after contracting infectious mononucleosis, which is caused by
    the Epstein-Barr virus. By studying patients from the time they get
    infectious mononucleosis to the development of CFS and through the first 24
    months of illness, the researchers hope to identify disease progression
    biomarkers, including those essential for early diagnosis.

    -- Kathleen Light, PhD, of the University of Utah Health Sciences Center,
    who will investigate the mechanisms involved in chronic pain that afflicts
    40%-70% of CFS patients. This study will determine whether receptors located
    on blood cells are increased and overactive in people with CFS and
    associated with increased pain sensitivity. Light theorizes that increases
    in specific receptors following exercise may be blood-based biomarkers for
    CFS and could lead to a medical test to identify CFS patients.

    -- Marvin Medow, PhD, of New York Medical College, who will investigate how
    orthostatic intolerance, seen in many CFS patients, affects brain function.
    This study will examine if CFS patients have increased pooling of blood in
    the abdomen that results in reduced cerebral blood flow. Medow will also
    investigate physiologic and oxidative stress changes associated with
    disturbance in blood flow. These results will help determine if alterations
    in blood flow affect brain metabolism.

    -- Bhubaneswar Mishra, PhD, of the Courant Institute of Mathematical
    Sciences at NYU, who will use state-of-the-art bioinformatics and
    computational biology tools to create a computational model of CFS-a kind of
    "Google for CFS" that will be part database, part knowledge-base, part
    research network. This new resource will provide a "systems view" of CFS
    that accumulates published CFS literature and experimental data to
    disentangle complex relationships among reported findings and discover
    causes of CFS.

    -- Sanjay Shukla, PhD, of Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, who will
    use metagenomics to determine if the ratio of good to bad intestinal
    bacteria in CFS patients is altered, and whether this imbalance in gut
    bacteria may be responsible for triggering CFS symptoms. Recent advances in
    metagenomics have demonstrated the significance of altered gastrointestinal
    bacteria in illnesses like HIV, diabetes, Crohn's disease, inflammatory
    bowel disease and ulcerative colitis. Shukla theorizes that CFS patients
    also have an imbalance of good and bad intestinal bacteria, resulting in
    enhanced intestinal permeability-called leaky gut-allowing bacteria to move
    across the protective intestinal barrier and causing chronic inflammation
    and immune activation in CFS patients. This study will contribute to our
    understanding of the relationship between the human microbiome and CFS. It
    may also lead to new treatment options, including the use of probiotics.

    -- Dikoma Shungu, PhD, of Weill Medical College of Cornell University, who
    will use a brain scanning technique called magnetic resonance spectroscopy
    to confirm earlier findings that brain fluid of CFS patients contains
    significantly elevated levels of lactate, a substance important in
    metabolism. Shungu's team will also investigate the reason for this
    phenomenon, exploring whether lactate levels are higher in CFS patients
    because their brains contain high levels of toxic compounds that cause a
    condition called oxidative stress (which could implicate chronic
    inflammation), or because mitochondrial dysfunction is causing malfunctions
    in the production of brain energy. If this study is successful, brain
    lactate levels could provide an objective diagnostic biomarker for CFS.

    The Accelerate CFS Research Initiative was made possible by the successful
    completion of a yearlong, million-dollar fundraising campaign, the largest
    research campaign for CFS to date in the United States. The CFIDS
    Association has funded more than $5.4 million in CFS research since 1987,
    making it second only to the federal government in CFS research spending.

    "This was a real grassroots campaign, with most contributions coming not
    from major corporations or foundations, but from ordinary people whose lives
    have been affected by the illness," said Kimberly McCleary, president and
    CEO of the CFIDS Association. "Patients, their family, friends and doctors
    stepped up to give donations large and small to fuel the research

    "While support from individual American citizens is vital for research
    progress," McCleary noted, "more funding from the government, from biotech
    firms and from the pharmaceutical industry is desperately needed. CFS
    affects more Americans than many other well-known diseases, but receives far
    less research funding."

    About the CFIDS Association of America

    The CFIDS Association was founded in 1987 to stimulate high-quality CFS
    research, improve the ability of health care professionals to diagnose and
    manage the illness, provide educational information for patients and their
    families, and build widespread public awareness of CFS. The organization has
    invested more than $26 million in research, education and public policy and
    is the largest charitable funder and advocate of CFS research in the U.S.

    To learn more about CFS, visit and

    SOURCE CFIDS Association of America
  2. bjsmit1

    bjsmit1 New Member

    Thanks for reporting this.

    It feels really good to see something that I spent the past year working so hard on come to fruition.