The power and pitfalls of omics part 2: epigenomics, transcriptomics and ME/CFS
Simon McGrath concludes his blog about the remarkable Prof George Davey Smith's smart ideas for understanding diseases, which may soon be applied to ME/CFS.
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UK Medical Research Council call for more ME research proposals

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Firestormm, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. Firestormm

    Firestormm

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    http://www.meassociation.org.uk/?p=12251

    New ME/CFS highlight notice issued by the UK Medical Research Council | 23 July 2012

    by Tony Britton on July 23, 2012

    The Medical Research Council (MRC) has put out a new call for ME/CFS research applications in a revised ‘highlight notice’ that went up on its website today (23 July 2012).
    The notice says that the MRC wants to receive funding bids for projects that were not well-covered in the last funding round – which resulted in £1.6m being awarded to five projects just before Christmas last year.

    The lion’s share went to two studies at the University of Newcastle, where lead investigators Dr Wan Ng and Professor Julia Newton received over £900,000 between them.

    “Some areas considered important and tractable for research by the MRC CFS/ME Expert Group (chaired by Professor Stephen Holgate), and highlighted in that call, were not well covered in the funded applications. These are highlighted below, alongside the other call topics, and now our Research Boards would particularly welcome applications in these areas,” the notice says.

    Immune dysregulation: There is evidence for a disturbance in innate and adaptive immunity in CFS/ME including alterations in cytokine profile, absolute and functional alterations in T cells and NK cells and occurrence of autoantibodies and allergic reactions that may explain some of the manifestations such as fatigue and flu-like symptoms. A number of infectious and environmental exposures have been associated as triggering these changes.

    Pain: Headache, facial pain and myalgia are reported symptoms of CFS/ME that may involve altered sensory and/or cognitive processing in the relevant neural pathways.

    Improved sub-phenotyping and stratification of CFS/ME: CFS/ME is often considered a broad spectrum disorder or syndrome and, as in other disease areas, it may be that the causes and mechanisms underpinning diverse symptom profiles are different. Better patient phenotyping and stratification could provide valuable new insights into the natural history of the disease and enable the development of more effective, better targeted treatments.

    Mechanisms of CFS/ME in children: The manifestations of CFS/ME in children represent a major clinical management challenge. There is a need for research aimed at improving understanding of the mechanisms that lead to the early onset of the disease; this knowledge can then be used for the development and evaluation of new treatment options, as a prelude to their assessment in large-scale clinical trials.

    Neuropathology: There is now preliminary evidence supporting the view that inflammatory mechanisms in the brain and spinal cord may underlie the pathophysiology of some severe disease CFS/ME phenotypes. Biobanks are now becoming available and create a unique opportunity for interrogation.

    The MRC explains in its notice that it is hoping to tease out applications from investigators new to the field of ME/CFS studies as well as wanting to help established investigators build up their own ME/CFS research portfolios. The organisation also wants to encourage partnerships with other funders.

    And this time the notice is ‘cross-board’ – which means that applications can be sent to any of the MRC’s four main Research Boards. They are (1) the Infections and Immunity Board, (2) the Molecular and Cellular Medicine Board, (3) the Neurosciences and Mental Health Board and (4) the Population and Systems Medicines Board.
     
    Simon likes this.
  2. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    Wow Firestormm a little more reading for me to take in - this thing ME/CFS - quietly curse the whole medical profession.

    Any chance in the UK the crap mumbo jumbos psyches will ever learn. But that is my own hope and never though difficult had to flee.




    .
     
  3. Firestormm

    Firestormm

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    I think this is a very (unexpected) positive development. It acknowledges that several lines of research are worth pursuing in respect to the 'biomedical' stuff. It doesn't specifically say how much dosh will be made available but I think we can safely assume there will be further funds set aside. They have already of course exceeded the original funding 'pot' granting £1.6m, which might seem peanuts but whatever - at least now others might be attracted to the field. Good news. Phew. What a day! :)
     
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  4. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    Good day Firestormm - have a good rest - any chance of a UK recognition of an Immune system problem (not much it came from Norway far too grand and wise for the pathetics here). Ah well the pathetics as we all know are the psycho UK pressure group.
     
  5. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    Last I heard of the biomedical /immunological research in Britain was that they were so scared of the power of the psychiatric lobby they were trying to keep their research work secret.
    I wonder if this decision from the MRC can change that. Any biomedical research is bound to be attacked. This is a real medical battleground and there are psych reputations to defend. .
     
  6. anniekim

    anniekim Senior Member

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    In the info Firestorm provided above, one of the areas they wish to look at is immune dysregulation. I hope this is a sign the medical profession are finally starting to slowly go in the right direction, focusing on bio medical research at last. As we know, way overdue andstill not enough but for me it's a start...
     
  7. user9876

    user9876 Senior Member

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    I think the psychiatric lobby seems to have lost power. I assume partly due to the failures over many years of their treatments and the PACE and FINE trials. What matters to a large extent is who dominates the committees on the MRC and who controls the journals. I assume that Prof Holgate has silently changed who is involved in the MRC committees partly just with a publicly stated intent to do biomedical research.

    The ability to publish may be an issue since I assume that the psychiatric lobby will still get to review medical papers on ME. Maybe open journals will help here.

    I was interested to read a recent interview with Esther Crawley
    http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/content/interviews/interview/2097/
    She seems to talk up the immune system and genetic angle and doesn't mention CBT or GET. To me it suggests a change in the power structures when careerist academics switch. Expect some of those who previously backed the psychiatric lobby to put in biomedical proposals.

    I hope this call will attract other researchers. Getting someone like Jonathan Edwards who pioneered the use of Rituximab for RA to look at ME would be great. I read (but didn't understand) one paper where he talks of an complex auto immune cycle involving b and t cells.
     
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  8. Simon

    Simon

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    Thanks, Firestormm
    This looks significant to me; that's 4 pots of cash to go for instead of just one, and both (1) and (2) are purely biomedical boards (not sure about 4).
     
  9. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    Can someone research "Population and Systems medcal board"

    What does that exist toi do? Does it look at new patterns of disease in the population?
     
  10. biophile

    biophile Places I'd rather be.

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    It does seem like a positive development which will have to become frequent/persistent to help wash away the lingering taste of decades of total biomedical neglect. As others have said, there are interesting implications for the UK paradigm on CFS/ME. Credit goes to a few individuals, but the dismal results from the PACE and FINE trials (and other failures to deliver) would have also provided a more conducive environment for concession behind the scenes. But isn't it still chump change compared to what is being spent on diseases with similar societal burden? For some patients this will still be too little too late, results and treatments still years away.

    So in other words, myalgic encephalomyelitis? ;)
     
  11. Firestormm

    Firestormm

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    Good highlighting Simon. It will also perhaps then appeal to those who only consider funding from these related 'pots'. I dare say that 'many' don't even consider ME projects deeming that they would not be relevant perhaps. It extends the scope and appeal. Nice touch. Right touch.

    And mentioning that Biobanks are now available (the joint charity project I would assume) is a nice touch too. Cheers Biophile I hadn't registered that bit :thumbsup:
     
  12. Battery Muncher

    Battery Muncher Senior Member

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    Great news! And very unexpected too...

    I wonder if further Rituximab trials would fit under those criteria? Maybe "Improved sub-phenotyping and stratification of CFS/ME"?
     
  13. user9876

    user9876 Senior Member

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    Since Rituximab affects the immune system I would have thought it would be under immune disregulation. Reading some pieces on Rutuximab for autoimmune disease there seems to be some complex interactions between the different pieces of the immune system.
     
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  14. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    I suspect what is happening is the current state of pathology findings (global) - and for any serious medical institution impossible to ignore.
     

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