Lynne has asked if I would pen a short editorial to update Vegepa Club’s generous Members on what research the ME Association’s Ramsay Research Fund (RRF) has been funding over the past year and our plans for the year ahead.
The main focus during the past year has been with the ME Biobank – which forms part of the main University College Biobank at the Royal Free Hospital in London. The RRF is the sole funder of ME Biobank – which currently costs us around £80,000 per annum
The ME Biobank is now recognised both here and abroad for the high quality of blood samples and clinical data it is providing to researchers. As a result, it is dealing with requests for blood samples on an international basis. The ME Biobank is also carrying out research into both viral infection and immune dysfunction for the National Institutes of Health in America and some of the early results from this major study should be published this year
Some of the other research studies that are currently being funded by the RRF include
- Dr Karl Morten and Professor James McCullagh at the University of Oxford are investigating metabolites – chemical markers that remain in the blood after chemical resactions have taken place at a cellular level
- Profesor Stephen Todryk at the University of Northumbria is completing another study on immune dysfunction
- Professor Jo Cambridge at University College is examiningt the link between immune system dysfunction and a defect in the way that muscle cells are producing energy
- Dr Elisa Oltra in Spain is using blood samples from the ME Biobank to look for abnormalities in people with severe ME
All of these research studies are aiming to find important clues about the causation of ME and the discovery of biomarkers that can be used to help confirm a diagnosis of ME
During the coming year we will be supporting and possibly funding further work at both Oxford and the ME Biobank – where funding and support is starting to create two Centres of Excellence for ME research
As you can see from the basic running costs at the ME Biobank, medical research has, become very costly to carry out – which is why we are so grateful for all the funding support that comes from all of you at The Vegepa Club.
Dr Charles Shepherd
Hon Medical Adviser, MEA
Website summary of all the research being funded by the RRF:
The ME Biobank