Solve M.E./UCLA Announce Pilot Funding for ME/CFS Research

Second year of Solve/UCLA partnership

September 2021–Solve M.E. is again partnering with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Iris Cantor Women’s Health Center to fund ME/CFS research through their Annual Health Pilot Program. This round of funding follows last year’s, which supported a clinical study assessing the effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in ME/CFS.

Solve’s commitment to ME/CFS research is longstanding and includes initiatives such as the You + ME Registry, which gathers + provides access to patient-provided data, the Ramsay Grant Program, which assists early-career researchers and the partnership with Action for M.E., which funds postdoctoral fellowships.

The pilot funding supports research related to the etiology or treatment of  ME/CFS, a disease characterized by:

· Profound fatigue
· Cognitive dysfunction
· Sleep abnormalities
· Autonomic manifestations
· Chronic pain

Symptoms are typically made worse by exertion of any sort. Criteria for diagnosis include a substantial reduction or impairment in ability to engage in usual activities that persists for six months, accompanied by new or definite onset fatigue which is not the result of excessive exertion, is not substantially alleviated by rest, and is characterized by post-exertional malaise and unrefreshing sleep. At least one of two additional manifestations is required for diagnosis: cognitive impairment and/or orthostatic intolerance.

A link to the Institute of Medicine’s ME/CFS report is here. A PDF of the report is downloadable for free here.

Investigators interested in studying potential etiologies for ME/CFS are encouraged to consider use of the Solve M.E. biobank, a repository of phenotypes and bio specimens contributed by individuals with this condition. A toolkit for researchers includes biobank information.

The Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Center invites submission of projects for pilot funding to encourage and support research, including interdisciplinary research, in the field of ME/CFS, including, but not limited to:

Basic science research on the etiologies of ME/CFS
Identifying new targets for prevention or treatment of ME/CFS
Long Covid and its relation to the exacerbation of or new onset of ME/CFS
To train researchers capable of leading and conducting ME/CFS research programs
To extend resources to increase the quality of ME/CFS throughout UCLA and affiliated institutions

Pilot Submission Timeline and Selection Process

a. Submit a one-page letter of intent and NIH biosketch by e-mail for review. All submissions from interested researchers must be received by noon, Monday, October 11th , 2021. The letter should indicate/include:

· Abstract of planned pilot research project
· Long-range research goals for this pilot work for future research
· Whether the research is a new or augmented pilot research project
· For any augmentation requests, how additional funds will strengthen current research and specify how increased budget amount would be used in your pilot work
· Budget amount requested
· NIH biosketch(s) of investigators (attachments)

Investigators may request up to $40,000 for a one-year period.

The Review Committee will review letters of intent and contact investigators whom they wish to submit full pilot proposals by Monday, October 18th, 2021. Funded projects will begin January 1, 2022.

Criteria for selection include: (a) quality of the proposed research; (b) potential of the research to expand understanding of ME/CFS; (c) potential of the pilot funding to expand capacity for research on this topic at UCLA and affiliated sites; and (d) credentials of PI and Co-investigators (if included).

Funding may be requested for any purpose which meets the needs of the investigator(s) and complies with UCLA policies for expenditure of funds. Please note that highest priority for the pilots will be given to pilots that would likely lead to R01s (or equivalent level funding from extramural sources) within 2-3 years.

Successful applicants may be asked to attend a team science training.

The letter of intent, biosketch(s), and other attachments should be e-mailed to the attention of Kara E Justeson, KJusteson@mednet.ucla.edu; (310-794-8063).

The letter of intent, biosketch(s), and other requested materials must be received by noon, Monday, October 11th, 2021. Any materials received after noon, Monday, October 11th, 2021, will not be considered.