The 12th Invest in ME Conference, Part 1
OverTheHills presents the first article in a series of three about the recent 12th Invest In ME international Conference (IIMEC12) in London.
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NIAID funding to Jackson Laboratory researcher to investigate chronic fatigue syndrome

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Kati, Jun 7, 2016.

  1. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

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    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/jl-nft060716.php

    Professor Derya Unutmaz, M.D., of The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, will receive five years of funding -- totaling $3,281,515 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases -- to find better ways to diagnose and treat myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), the debilitating and mysterious condition more generally known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

    According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 836,000 and 2.5 million Americans suffer from ME/CFS. Symptoms include profound fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, sleep abnormalities and pain.

    Researchers have identified several potential environmental triggers and faulty immune system components associated with ME/CFS, but the immunological basis for the disease remains murky. Moreover, the symptoms and severity of ME/CFS vary widely among patients.

    Unutmaz proposes to undertake a major study of ME/CFS patients, screening blood samples for potential immunological biomarkers of the disease, and using the results to develop better diagnostic tools and personalized treatments for the disease.

    ###

    The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution with more than 1,700 employees. Headquartered in Bar Harbor, Maine, it has a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center, a facility in Sacramento, Calif., and a genomic medicine institute in Farmington, Conn. Its mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016
  2. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member

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    Wow!

    Nope I'm gonna have to read that again to try to find the catch.
     
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  3. duncan

    duncan Senior Member

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    "Better diagnostic tools" AND "personalized treatments"? My BS meter just went off like an air raid alarm.
     
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  4. greeneagledown

    greeneagledown Senior Member

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    This is great, but every time I see a new CFS grant from NIH, I think, "More money that could have gone to Ron Davis."
     
  5. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

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    Why Duncan? Personalized medicine is one booming field. It doesn't mean quack.

    My comment about the article is this physciain is completely unknown in the ME world. Why would NIAID fund someone who has no idea about case definition and the issues surrounding ME and not fund Dr Davis group?

    It has a bitter sweet flavor.
     
  6. mango

    mango Senior Member

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    https://www.jax.org/research-and-faculty/faculty/derya-unutmaz
     
  7. mango

    mango Senior Member

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    Mij, Bob, Johannawj and 1 other person like this.
  8. A.B.

    A.B. Senior Member

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    We do need new researchers entering the field. I do think Davis will receive more funding eventually. Perhaps after he has formally published his findings.
     
  9. mango

    mango Senior Member

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  10. duncan

    duncan Senior Member

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    They are writing checks against a bank account with close to a zero balance, @Kati. I am wary of grandiose promises in general, but from the NIH, even more so.

    Maybe the pr dept just got carried away.
     
  11. Denise

    Denise Senior Member

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    Not quite an unknown - Dr. Unutmaz has done work with the SolveME/CFS Initiative
    • Derya Unutmaz, MD, Professor of Microbiology and Pathology, NYU Medical Center
      His laboratory has developed highly sophisticated and detailed profiling technology of the functional subsets of immune cells isolated from human blood. Unutmaz has completed immune profiling on 25 ME/CFS patient samples from the SolveCFS BioBank™ and is now in the process of analyzing the data, comparing it to immune profiles from other diseases as well as from healthy controls. (Please go to to watch a recent webinar led by Unutmaz on his work.) http://solvecfs.org/being-patient-centric/
    Investigator Report: Decoding the Human Immune Response
    HELD on Wednesday, October 1, 2014
    Video Link

    Derya Unutmaz, MD, is Professor of Microbiology, Pathology and Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. Unutmaz is using samples from the SolveCFS BioBank to understand the “Good, Bad and Ugly” aspects of the immune response in ME/CFS. Unutmaz hypothesizes that a disproportionate immune response leads to damage in ME/CFS. He will describe what the immune signature of ME/CFS looks like compared to a healthy immune response. http://solvecfs.org/mecfs-resources/patient-resources/solve-mecfs-initiative-2014-webinar-series/
     
  12. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

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    Thanks Denise, then I feel better :):thumbsup::angel:
     
  13. Denise

    Denise Senior Member

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    You are welcome! :)

    We definitely need more researchers!!
    We definitely need research funding (for appropriate research)!!

    That said, it is nice to see that at least some of the SolveME/cfs Initiative seed grants continue to develop into larger project. Here's hoping this trend continues!
     
  14. Bob

    Bob

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    Yes, an official $3m grant to Ron would be nice but, as enthusiastic as we are about Ron, it won't harm us to have a number of players in the field.
    Actually, it's essential to have a number of capable scientists doing parallel projects. The more the better.
    I need to read more about Unutmaz, but I provisionally think this is great news!

    BTW, I'm with @A.B. on this - I think Ron will get official funding eventually - unfortunately the NIH need to sort out their bureaucracy first.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016
  15. Bob

    Bob

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    Any chance you've misread it, Duncan? It says he will use the results to develop better diagnostic tools and personalized treatments. Obviously that's an ambition, but it seems like a laudable ambition.
     
  16. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    But it's essentially the same as what Ron Davis said in his IiME talk.
     
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  17. Bob

    Bob

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    I find all this very interesting...
     
  18. duncan

    duncan Senior Member

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    Yes, I could have misread it. Yes, it is a laudable goal.

    In my mind, though, it is premature to such an extent as to be misleading. We have such a far way to go simply for accurate diagnostics. We haven't even identified what we are supposed to be diagnosing yet. And then personalized treatments?

    These may not be responsible claims given the status of our current knowledge, at least imo.

    But I get hype, and I appreciate getting excited and wanting to excite readers....wanting to generate hope. There is a lot to be said for that.
     
  19. duncan

    duncan Senior Member

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    I think it is premature for anyone to be making such claims.

    Like I said, though, hope can be a good thing.
     
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  20. Simon

    Simon

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    Project Information - NIH RePORTER - NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools Expenditures and Results

    Big cohort, detailed look at Natural Killer cells and T cell subsets, looks at long non-coding RNAs too

    PROJECT SUMMARY/ABSTRACT

    Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a debilitating and mysterious chronic illness caused by diverse environmental triggers. Severe disruptions in several immune system components have been described and proposed as drivers of disease pathogenesis and symptoms.

    However, there is no consensus on the immunological basis for ME/CFS development and sustenance. The two major barriers to progress are the significant patient heterogeneity in symptomatology and disease progression, combined with the lack of quantitative tools to stratify patients and probe the molecular immune underpinnings of disease.

    The ability to stratify heterogeneous patient groups using reliable, clinically accessible immunological biomarkers would transform efforts to manage ME/CFS clinically and investigate the disease mechanistically. Development of robust multi-parameter biomarker sets would also impact efforts to develop personalized treatment options for ME/CFS patients.

    The present proposal outlines a multi-disciplinary, systems-biology approach to investigate the immune mechanisms of ME/CFS and to develop ME/CFS-patient specific immune signatures from blood-derived immune cells. The guiding hypothesis is that immune perturbations, particularly to the effector functions of T cell and innate cell (natural killer and myeloid) subsets, contribute to pathogenesis of ME/CFS and that these immune signatures can be used as predictive biomarkers.

    We will address this hypothesis using a cutting-edge immunogenomics approach based on integrated, high-resolution functional and transcriptomic profiling of immune cell subsets within the blood samples of a large, clinically characterized ME/CFS patient cohort and healthy controls.

    We will then examine the transcriptional alterations associated with ME/CFS within T and innate cell subsets, with a focus on long non–coding RNAs, owing to their high cell- type-specificity and impact on immune cell development.

    Our Specific Aims are:
    1) To determine the frequencies of immune cell subsets in the blood of a clinically defined ME/CFS patient cohort;
    2) To assess functional capacity of memory T cells, innate cells and the differentiation potential of naive T cells during ME/CFS; and
    3) To determine the T cell and innate cell subset–specific gene and lncRNA transcripts in ME/CFS patient blood samples.

    Our goal is to develop a detailed functional and genetic immunological framework that can be used to
    i) decode the mechanisms of ME/CFS [hah, ambitious!] and
    ii) to develop robust, quantitative immune-biomarker sets for predicting disease susceptibility, stratifying patients and guiding treatment strategies.

    We have assembled a unique team of experts in human immunology, clinical ME/CFS biology for well-defined patient samples, non-coding RNAs, transcriptomics and bioinformatics, together will contribute to the deep and complimentary expertise necessary to bring about this goal.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016

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