Invest in ME Conference 12: First Class in Every Way
OverTheHills wraps up our series of articles on this year's 12th Invest in ME International Conference (IIMEC12) in London with some reflections on her experience as a patient attending the conference for the first time.
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NIH Grant Applications for ME/CFS Etiology, Diagnosis, Pathophysiology, and Treatment

Discussion in 'Latest ME/CFS Research' started by Firestormm, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. Firestormm


    Cornwall England

    Not sure if this has been posted before. The applications for grant funding were invited previously but it appears to have been reissued (not sure what that means - a lack of interest first time round or perhaps a rolling invitation?). This is dated 18 November 2011 and applications for research projects are invited by 24 February 2012 - so a small window relatively speaking.

    Haven't read through all the detail myself yet, but the wording of the invitation and its' breadth appear quite interesting. I thought personally that it was at least something to see 'ME' mentioned alongside 'CFS' in the application title. Not bad for the NIH I thought even if it is a token gesture of 'also known as' ;)

    More than that though is the description of my condition, which on the whole I thought pretty good and it seemed to recognise all the symptomatology pretty well. It would be helpful of course to know how much money they are prepared to grant any accepted applications - and as I said the scope seems broad (more so perhaps than the UK MRC invitations whose acceptances should be announced later this month I understand).

    Still it was quite a surprise to see this from the US. You chaps have probably seen it before I expect but figured I would flag it here anyway.

    Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Etiology, Diagnosis, Pathophysiology, and Treatment (R01):


    This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) issued by the Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH) and co-sponsoring Institutes and Centers (ICs) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) encourages applications that propose to examine the etiology, diagnosis, pathophysiology, and treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), sometimes referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), in diverse groups and across the lifespan.

    Applications that address gaps in the understanding of the environmental and biological risk factors, determinants of heterogeneity among patient populations, and common mechanisms influencing the multiple body systems that are affected in ME/CFS are encouraged.

    The NIH is particularly interested in funding interdisciplinary research that will enhance our knowledge of the disease process and provide evidence-based solutions to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life of all persons with ME/CFS.

    This interdisciplinary research may include the building of scientific teams to develop biomarkers and/or innovative treatment interventions.


    ME/CFS is a debilitating and complex syndrome that involves multiple body systems. It is characterized by profound fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and may be exacerbated or re-kindled by physical or mental activity. Persons with ME/CFS most often function at substantially lower levels of activity from their pre-onset capacities.

    In addition to these defining characteristics, a diverse array of other symptoms is associated with ME/CFS. These symptoms include cognitive deficits, impaired sleep, myalgia, arthralgia, headache, gastrointestinal symptoms, and tender lymph nodes. Neither a specific cause(s) nor any approved diagnostic test(s) has been identified for this illness.

    The range of symptoms, however, suggests that there may be subtle perturbations in systems of the body that are important for homeostatic regulation and in the multiple physiological pathways through which these systems communicate.

    These dysregulations may be triggered by diverse causes such as infection, stress, brain structure abnormalities, hormone levels, or proinflammatory cytokines. Evidence is needed to detail the immune mechanisms and/or mechanisms of pathogenesis involved in ME/CFS.

    Existing data suggest that over one million people in the United States are afflicted with ME/CFS, and the illness is said to occur more frequently among women than men.

    In addition, the prevalence of this illness in children remains to be determined, and additional epidemiological studies are needed. ME/CFS is one of many co-morbid chronic pain conditions, including temporomandibular joint disease, vulvodynia, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome, chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome, and irritable bowel disease.

    The relationship to these other diseases remains to be further elucidated through epidemiological and basic-science research.

    Diagnosis of ME/CSF also merits further study. Promising research has focused on identification of biomarkers for diagnosis of ME/CSF; nonetheless, more work is needed for a clinically applicable detection method.

    Validated biomarkers might prove to be a key to improved objective diagnoses. Cytokine levels, leukocyte function abnormalities, gene expression profiles, cerebral spinal fluid protein patterns, blood oxygen levels and brain imaging measures could be useful biomarkers of ME/CFS.

    Current treatments for ME/CFS are largely aimed at symptom management. Pharmacological and non-pharmacological as well as behavioral approaches are being considered, but as yet, there is no consensus on what works best. No cures have been identified. Better understanding of the etiology and pathophysiology will give insight into appropriate treatments for this illness.

    Innovative, well-designed studies are needed to provide a better understanding of ME/CFS, prevalence, pathogenesis, and pathophysiology, with the goal of developing improved diagnostic and intervention strategies.

    The heterogeneity of the ME/CFS population should be recognized in basic, translational, and clinical research; thus, sex, age/developmental stage, racial and ethnic variations should be considered along with any subtyping of ME/CFS in the study designs. In addition, studies using girls and women of reproductive age should control for phase of the menstrual cycle.

    This FOA encourages the integration of basic research with clinical observations in forming study hypotheses. The multisystem nature of the disorder will benefit from a collaborative interdisciplinary (across scientific disciplines) team approach that may lead to the insights necessary to provide a foundation for understanding, diagnosing and treating this complex illness.'

    And then it defines the research parameters... Anyway I thought it intriguing...
  2. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

    It's very interesting that they seem to be elevating PEM above the "array of other symptoms". It's still not phrased as being a requirement, but it is a shift from the wording of the CDC case definition. There is also no mention of the CDC six-month requirement in that definition.
  3. Firestormm


    Cornwall England
    Morning Val,

    I wondered at its' significance. Following that piece about the CDC shenanigans posted on Prof Racaniello's blog - has there been something of a shift in emphasis generally under the new 'leadership' do you think?

    It would be useful to know how much money was now being allocated to these research grants though, wouldn't it? I don't know too much about the situation in the US to be honest.

    I wonder who composed the wording if it doesn't match that on the CDC's website....
  4. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic Senior Member

    Thanks for posting this. Does anyone know how govt grants work ? Is it more paperwork than it's worth
    or are there provisions for that ? Who can participate ? I want to ask my doc to apply for this. tc .. X
  5. Hope123

    Hope123 Senior Member

    This isn't new.

    The only difference is that the expiration date to apply for the grant was moved up from January 2012 to a 2014 date now but that was already expected to some extent several months ago. Renewal for such an announcement is not unusual. As a program announcement (PA) rather than a request for application (RFA), it means the government is interested and will accept ME/CFS grants (again, nothing new) but there is still no money earmarked specifically for ME/ CFS research.

    The process to apply for a grant is not an easy one, especially for this illness, and is something a lot of ME/CFS researchers have had issues with over the years. The grant specifically lists who can apply for the grant and what do to for those interested.

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