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 Canada.
"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
-- Kathleen Light, PhD, of the
-- Marvin Medow, PhD, of
-- Bhubaneswar Mishra, PhD, of the Courant Institute of Mathematical
-- 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
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 initiative."
"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.
|SOURCE CFIDS Association of America|
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