UK Charity Invest in ME Research is pledging £500,000 for continued research into the disease myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME or ME/CFS) in Norwich Research Park, UK (NRP).
This major investment builds on the foundations already made for a UK/European Centre of Excellence for ME research hub in Norwich Research Park.
The pledge covers joint funding of a PhD position in partnership with University of East Anglia and over 70% of the required funding for a clinical trial of Faecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) being performed alongside other high-quality biomedical research at the Quadram Institute (QI).
QI’s world-class facility has seen four PhDs already employed on research into ME, focusing specifically on the gut microbiota and links to ME.
Invest in ME Research Chairman Kathleen McCall said: “This is a massive undertaking for a small charity but it underlines our confidence in the quality and direction of research at Quadram Institute. This research offers an opportunity to test a new form of treatment for ME in well-designed clinical trial. On top of the other initiatives being created in partnership with QI we believe this has the potential to change the face of research into this disease.”
Professor Simon Carding, Head of Gut Microbes and Health Research Programme at Quadram Institute Bioscience said: “We are incredibly grateful for the ongoing support from Invest in ME Research and their supporters. We are very excited at the prospect of undertaking the FMT clinical trial, as part of our ongoing investigations into the links between ME and the gut microbiome.”
This research news comes after recent meetings of the European ME Research Group (EMERG) and European ME Clinicians Council (EMECC) in which QI and UEA played major roles and which will form European collaborations and coordination of research into ME and clinical expertise development for this disease.
The continuing and developing research in Norwich Research Park holds out great hope for the future for ME patients and their families.
ME commonly presents with hugely diverse and debilitating symptoms including post-exertional malaise, unrefreshing sleep, cognitive dysfunction and widespread pain. ME has been estimated to affect around 250,000 people in the UK and direct and indirect economic costs have been estimated in the USA to be $20 billion annually. The severity of symptoms varies. Around 25% of sufferers may be classed as severely affected – often bed bound at some point in their lives with periods of relapse and remission common and only 6% returning to full health.
The pledge brings to five the number of PhD positions that the charity has funded/part-funded.