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December 2016

RESEARCH 1ST NEWS | December 2016
Announcing the First-ANNUAL RAMSAY AWARD PROGRAM


Dear Friends,

The results of the 2016 Ramsay Award Program are in!

The Ramsay Award Program is a newly announced, annual research grants competition in basic, preclinical, clinical, and epidemiological research open to investigators at any career stage who are interested in studying ME/CFS.

As described before, the program’s three main objectives are to 1) invest in original ideas that could clarify the onset, progression, root causes, and natural history of ME/CFS; 2) create permissive environments to attract, support, and retain talent in the ME/CFS community and help awardees generate relevant data to compete for long-term federal funding; and 3) facilitate collaboration and cross-pollination among researchers through the sharing of resources and access.

We have five new outstanding partners in research joining our network in 2016, and we are thrilled to support the work of these talented scientists from around the world as they expand our...Read More

Yours,

Zaher Nahle
Vice President for Research and Scientific Programs
Solve ME/CFS Initiative

RESEARCH ROUNDUP

The Ramsay Award Program Peer-Review Process

SMCI is the only ME/CFS organization to award seed grants for preliminary research, historically giving out seed grants once every three years. Our new, annual seed grant program, The Ramsay Award Program, will now give awards to promising researchers annually.

When the Ramsay Award Program was established, we recognized that the development of a transparent, rigorous, and efficient peer-review process for research grant proposals would be key. Below is a summary of this process, as we are committed to full transparency. After all, we are spending our patient-donors’ funds and want them to understand how we make these important research decisions.

TO READ MORE, GO HERE.

Ramsay Research Team 1 - Exploring Brain Inflammation by Measuring Temperature

The study from Dr. Jarred Younger of the University of Alabama at Birmingham is entitled “Advanced Non-Invasive Analysis in ME/CFS Diagnosis and Treatment Decisions.” This study will use a magnetic resonance spectroscopic thermometry (MRSt) technique to assess absolute temperature across the entire brain. This technique allows researchers to investigate the pathophysiology (in other words, the functional changes that accompany the disease), of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).

Defining the pathophysiology of ME/CFS is vital to the development of effective treatments.
 

TO READ MORE, GO HERE.

 

Ramsay Research Team 2 - Studying B-Cell Function, Maturation, and Biochemical Alteration with Rituximab-Based Therapy

This study, from Dr. Geraldine Cambridge (University College London), Fane Mensah (University College London), and Chris Armstrong (University of Melbourne), is entitled “Metabolic Analysis of B-Cell Maturation in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.”

The study theorizes that while “many viral and other infectious agents have been reported to cause or trigger the symptoms described by patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS),” the variety of associated pathogens suggests that “a single agent is not responsible and that chronic changes to the normal functioning of immune and other body cells caused by stressors such as infections more likely underlie this disease.”

 

TO READ MORE, GO HERE.

Ramsay Research Team 3 - Metabolic Assessment of the Natural Killer Cells in ME/CFS Using the Bioenergetics Health Index

This study, from Drs. Isabel Barao-Silvestre (University of Nevada Reno), Ruben Dagda (University of Nevada Reno), and Victor Darley-Usmar (University of Alabama at Birmingham), is entitled “The Bioenergetic Health Index of NK Cells as a Diagnostic Tool for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.”

Natural killer (NK) lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) are a critical first defense against viruses and cancers, and NK cell dysfunction is a pathological hallmark in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Mitochondrial metabolism is critical for immune cell function. Although many triggers of NK cell activation and subsequent NK cell effector responses have been well characterized, the metabolic requirements to drive NK cell functional responses are not well known.

TO READ MORE, GO HERE.

 

Ramsay Research Team 4 - Identifying Autoimmune Signatures in ME/CFS

This study from Dr. Carmen Scheibenbogen (Charite University Medicine Berlin) and Madlen Lobel (Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin) is entitled “Autoimmune Signature in CFS/ME.”

It combines in-depth genetic screening methodologies with the study of autoimmune factors regulating a specific type of surface receptors important in cellular signaling and function.

Three specific cellular and genetic autoimmune traits in CFS/ME will be analyzed: 1) The prevalence of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with functional impact on genes associated with autoimmune diseases, 2) Risk variants for autoimmunity in the non-coding genome, and 3) The frequency and function of immune cell subsets with pathogenic function in autoimmunity.
 

TO READ MORE, GO HERE.

Ramsay Research Team 5 - The Potential Role of HHV-6 in ME/CFS

This study from Dr. Bhupesh Prusty (Julius Maximilian University of Wurzburg) is entitled “HHV-6 Mediated Mitochondrial Modulation and Its Association to ME/CFS.”

While the precise role of pathogens in the development of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) remains mostly uncharacterized, human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) is frequently associated with the disease (as well as several other diseases).
 
Originally, the integration of HHV-6 into human chromosomes in order to achieve latency was thought to be the dead end for the virus. However, recent publications demonstrate that certain timely triggers like circumstances of immune suppression or the influence of various drugs and/or pathogenic infections can activate this virus.

TO READ MORE, GO HERE.

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