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AfME report on 2015 UK CMRC conference


Fine, thank you

ME Research UK said:
Official report of CMRC conference 2015

The 44-page official report of the second Research Collaborative (CMRC) scientific conference has just been finalised, and can be downloaded from Action for ME’s website bit.ly/23GvThQ. The conference was held in Newcastle in October 2015, and there were keynote addresses by Prof Jose Montoya, Prof Jo Nijs, Dr Øystein Fluge & others, as well as shorter presentations, and 33 posters.

The conference was very fruitful and encouraging, and it was great to meet many of the researchers we have funded (photo) as well as old friends and allies. Special thanks go to the major sponsors of the event – the MRC, the Wellcome Trust and Arthritis Research UK. Our own short report with some photos of presenters can be read here bit.ly/1WvRh8D. The 2016 CMRC conference is provisionally scheduled to take place on Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 October.


Senior Member
England (south coast)
That's a very good write-up of the conference. Especially interesting is the section outlining Prof Davey Smith's presentation, starting page 31. I think it may suggest where the 'omics' study is heading. Thanks to those who wrote it all up. Looks like a phenomenal effort.


Senior Member
Monmouth, UK
Prof Stephen Holgate's opening address setting out his vision - which I think is prett clear
Stephen Holgate said:
Innovative biomedical research is urgently needed to identify risk and therapeutic targets. We need to have a greater understanding of the impact of this condition across the life course...

We need to bring scientists who are experts in their own field, to come in and help us unpick the complexity of this group of conditions. The methodology and the technology that we need to do this is going to be quite different from what we are used to using in the past.

Specifically on the Grand Challenge
Stephen Holgate said:
The Grand Challenge
Prof Holgate set the CMRC’s Grand Challenge, saying that we must “agree a practical case definition [and then] deliver a pan-UK, joined up approach to phenotyping this group of patients using modern statistical approaches, applied to clinical and physiological routine pathological data.”

... we need to collect biological samples, and look at not only disease process but also environmental factors such as diet and chemical exposure. Answers would surface when biological information was integrated with the different phenotypes. Pathway analysis would be used to unpick the causal mechanisms and identify novel therapeutic interventions.

“It sounds all very simple and straightforward but of course it’s not: it’s very complicated and very challenging,” he conceded. “But it is being done in other disease areas and I think this gives us the confidence that we can do it.”
Cancer and diabetes, for example, and Prof Holgate’s own field of asthma are already sub-phenotyping using new methods. “We all thought [asthma] was a homogeneous condition,” he recalled. “We have treatments that are targeted on the basis that it is a homogeneous condition but it turns out that that is not the case.

“New technology and advanced statistical methods have shown that there are six different types of asthma which are very different from each other. Each one of those has a different causative molecular and cellular pathways associated with it.” This explains why current treatments don’t work for all patients.

Next steps
Prof Holgate has a plan to get things moving. “The patient charities will be needed to help us recruit patients across the whole country,” he said. “We need the health professions, scientists, statisticians and clinicians to come together to agree a national protocol and to start looking into the multi-omics technology platforms."
A 2-day meet will take place this April with many researchers new to mecfs, with the aim of applying for a major grant (they are talking of 10,000 patients) before the end of the year.