At a public meeting held at the Quadram Institute in February, a team of researchers from the Norwich Research Park outlined their plans for a new behind a new project investigating ME.
The study, called RESTORE-ME, is being funded thanks to the generous support of the charity Invest in ME Research. It will test whether the use of Microbiota Replacement Therapy (MRT) also known as Intestinal Microbiota Transfer (IMT) or Faecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT), can treat ME.
As well as talking about the trial, the team collected the opinions of the attendees,
There are around 250,000 people in the UK with ME. It causes widespread pain, extreme fatigue, an inability to concentrate and for a large proportion of people, gut disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Although there are various therapies that aim to relieve the symptoms, there is no cure and the causes of ME remain unknown.
The planned trial will transplant the microbiota from healthy donors into participants with ME who volunteer to take part.
If you are interested in finding out more about the RESTORE-ME trial, please watch the recordings of the talks below. Slides from the talks are available here
Professor Simon Carding is leading the study and he opened the event by explaining the rationale behind the RESTORE-ME study, and the current ongoing research into ME. With substantial support from Invest in ME Research, the Quadram Institute has established a research programme looking to understand the links between ME and the population of microbes that colonise or gut. Known as the microbiota, there’s a growing body of evidence that these trillions of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microbes play a major role in keeping us healthy.
(Apologies for sound quality problems with this video.)
Dr Ngozi Elumogo, Consultant Clinical Microbiologist in the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), is the clinical lead on the RESTORE-ME project. She talked about the safety aspects of Faecal Microbiota Transplants. She has been using IMT to treat recurrent infections of Clostridiodes difficile (C. diff) bacteria. Her talk covered the process, which includes stringent safety procedures top screen the donor material.
Dr Andy Atkin, a Lecturer in Behavioural Epidemiology from the University of East Anglia’s School of Health Sciences talked about his role in the project. He will be measuring the physical activity, which is one of the primary outcomes of the study. Participants will be given an activity monitor that collects data that will allow him to assess overall activity level, intensity and patterns of activity.
Jo Wiggins from the East Coast Community Healthcare team explained the role her organisation will play in recruiting people into the study. The ECCH ME/CFS service provides outpatient services to people with ME across Norfolk and Suffolk. Her talk covered how the trial will recruit the 160 participants needed, and the recruitment and selection process.
Watch all of the talks together in this video: