The Solve ME/CFS Initiative (SMCI) hosted a webinar December 15 in which Zaher Nahle, PhD, MPA, summarized research in which they are participating or supporting. Nahle is the Vice President for Research and Scientific Programs at SMCI.
Nahle began by listing the problems associated with ME’s perception, funding, and research. “The mother lode of our problems is a severe knowledge gap,” he said. To help close that gap, SMCI is implementing a two-pronged research strategy by improving the ME research ecosystem and starting and supporting quality research across all stages of knowledge discovery. More specifically, SMCI has given financial awards to five research projects and has initiated four others recently.
The five pilot projects are:
- A study of advanced imaging to demonstrate low-grade brain inflammation in ME, by Jarred Younger of the University of Alabama at Birmingham
- A metabolic analysis of B-cell maturation in ME, by University College London and the University of Melbourne (Australia)
- An examination of natural killer cells as a way to diagnose ME, by the University of Nevada and University of Alabama at Birmingham
- A study of autoimmunity, specifically G protein–coupled receptors, in ME, by Charite University Medicine Berlin
- An examination of the association between ME and HHV-6–mediated mitochondrial modulation, by the University of Würzburg (Germany)
The four SMCI-initiated projects are:
- A metabolic analysis of patients’ gut microbiome and of patients overall before and after exercise along with a genetic analysis of twins with and without ME
- An analysis of cellular dysregulation as a contributor to ME’s pathophysiology
- A screening of tens of thousands of drugs for use in ME
- A noninvasive measurement of muscle metabolites in ME patients before and after exercise
Another SMCI project Nahle mentioned is a national ME/CFS patient registry. When launched, it will enable patients to create secure online profiles containing their data to be made available, to the level they determine, to researchers. Sharing demographic and treatment outcome data, among other types of data, will facilitate longitudinal research.
Nahle ended by reiterating the wide range of problems in ME but by saying the landscape is changing “due to patients being very vocal about the disease.” Click below to access a YouTube recording of the webinar.