Kathleen Light’s Group Secures Million-Dollar NIH Award

Association News, Research News | 19. Sep, 2011 by | 14 Comments

By K. Kimberly McCleary, President & CEO

We are delighted to announce that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has made a new award totalling $1,009,125 to support biomarker research led by Kathleen Light, PhD, of the University of Utah. The pilot study showing gene expression changes after modest exercise was supported by the Solve ME/CFS Initiative. The most recent set of results was published on May 26, 2011 in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

authorsThe new award to Dr. Light’s team is a three-year grant that will enable them to add 140 more subjects to their protocol that has demonstrated great promise to distinguish CFS from fibromyalgia (without co-occurring CFS), multiple sclerosis, primary depression and prostate cancer, conditions marked by substantial fatigue and/or pain. Dr. Light and her husband, Alan R. Light, PhD, study CFS and fibromyalgia patients referred by clinical collaborator Lucinda Bateman, MD.

Using blood samples collected at rest and then at four time points after a moderate exercise challenge, CFS patients showed both rapid and sustained increases in expression of  four genes. The new award will enable them to test whether the gene expression measures meet standard criteria for diagnostic biomarkers in CFS as a whole and in key subgroups. The expanded study will also lay a foundation for further translational research on dysregulated pathways that may initiate, maintain or worsen symptoms of CFS, and provide potential targets for effective therapeutic intervention.

Dr. Light is the third Association-funded researcher to have recently secured additional funding to extend her or his work. Dr. Gordon Broderick has leveraged pilot funding from the Association into $3.5 million in grants from the NIH and Department of Defense. Dr. Dikoma Shungu’s group will collaborate with Dr. Benjamin Natelson on a new study of neurological deficits just awarded to Beth Israel Medical Center by NIH, with support of $379,000.

An update on these and other outcomes of Association-funded research will be published in the next issue of our print publication, SolveCFS, at press now. To receive a complimentary copy, please send your name and mailing address to cfids@cfids.org with “SOLVECFS” in the subject line.

Read more about the Lights’ research in a summary of the latest publication, “Exercise Challenge Reveals Potential CFS Biomarkers.” Dr. Alan Light describes the term and criteria used to evaluate biomarkers in this guest post, “Shedding Light on Biomarkers.” You can also listen to Dr. Kathy Light describe the group’s research in a webinar recorded last fall, “Expanding Research: Building On Your Investment.”

Daily-Utah-Chronicle-300x81[Update: The Sept. 21, 2011 edition of The Daily Utah Chronicle reported news of the Lights’ grant: http://bit.ly/pCu27z]

K. Kimberly McCleary has served as the Association’s chief staff executive since 1991

September 19, 2011