Saturday, 29 June 2013

MEA welcomes £1m grant awarded to the UK ME/CFS Biobank

by Tony Britton on June 28, 2013

A £1million grant has been awarded to the UK ME/CFS BioBank by the US National Institutes of Health – for immunological and genetic studies over the next three years that may lead to the discovery of disease biomarkers.

The ME Association are one of the charity co-funders of the Biobank. Our medical adviser Dr Charles Shepherd commented today:

“This £1 million grant from the prestigious National Institutes of Health in America is a major vote of international confidence in the ME Biobank at the Royal Free Hospital – an important new research initiative that is being co-funded by The ME Association Ramsay Research Fund.

“People with ME will be delighted to hear this news. They have already helped to find the money to launch the Biobank and then provided the blood samples that are being used to help find both diagnostic markers and clues to the underlying cause of this devastating disease.”


A pioneering biobank project aimed at the study of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) / chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) has been awarded a grant totalling £1,029,411 ($1,588,225) over three years by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

A biobank is a large collection of biological samples including tissues such as blood, which provides a valuable database for scientific research. Patients with an illness, as well as healthy people (controls), volunteer their tissues for inclusion, and each sample can be linked with detailed clinical information about the donor.

The UK ME/CFS Biobank was launched in 2011. It is the only one in the UK and the first in Europe aimed at the study of the illness. The project is led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and is currently funded by the ME Association, Action for ME, ME Research UK and a private donor.

Samples for the ME/CFS Biobank are obtained via NHS primary care networks and other sources, and are then processed and securely stored at the University College London/Royal Free Hospital Biobank.

During phase one of the project, researchers successfully banked samples from over 100 clinically assessed ME/CFS patients and controls, along with key clinical information about the donors, which has been anonymised to maintain patient confidentiality.

The three-year grant from the NIH will enable important research on the immunology and genetics of ME/CFS, which may lead to the discovery of much needed disease biomarkers. It will also help to expand the Biobank to store samples from over 500 participants, including almost 300 patients and over 200 controls (comprising healthy controls and people with multiple sclerosis), which will be made available to medical researchers internationally.

Dr Eliana Lacerda from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, one of the lead researchers on the project, said:

“At least one in every 500 adults in the UK is affected by ME/CFS at any one time, as well as a smaller but significant proportion of children. The NIH grant provides a huge boost to the Biobank, which will enable more research into the causes of ME/CFS and ultimately help those affected.”

Erinna Bowman, one of the project researchers, said:

“A key component of our project is its longitudinal design, which includes participant follow-ups over an extended period of time. This longitudinal aspect makes the Biobank an even more valuable resource and presents new opportunities for scientific discovery in the years to come.”

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is home to a dedicated research group working on research into ME/CFS.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Christian Conferences

There are two Christian conferences coming up in July that I would recommend – dates and speakers given below.  I believe that the Met Tab will be showing the Wednesday evening sessions by Dr Masters live online; Tabernacle Cardiff aim to broadcast all sessions live.  Both will have the talks available to download or purchase on disks afterwards.

Metropolitan Tabernacle -

School of Theology

“Recovery From Spiritual Decline – Proving the Methods of Scripture”

2 – 4 July 2013

Speakers – Ibrahim Ag Mohamed (London), Roger Brazier (Edmonton), Roland Burrows (Cradley Heath), Chris Buss (Battersea), Richard Clarke (Plymouth), Chris Hand (Crich), Dewi Higham (Cardiff), Peter Masters (London), Jonathan Northern (Baldock), Jack Seaton (Inverness) John Thackway (Holywell), Ted Williams, James Zenker (Blackheath)

Tabernacle Cardiff  

Summer Conference

22 – 26 July 2013

Speakers – Peter Andrews (London), Joel Beeke (Michigan, USA), Vernon Higham (Cardiff), Maurice Roberts (Inverness), Jonathan Stobbs (Penzance)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The 8th Invest in ME (IiME) International ME Conference 2013

A report on the 8th Invest in ME International Conference 2013, “ Infection, Immunity and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis – Mainstreaming ME Research, Clinical and Research Updates”, written by Dr Ros Vallings, who is medical adviser to the Associated New Zealand ME Society (ANZMES) and secretary of the IACFS/ME, can now be found on the IiME website at -

DVDS of the conference and of previous conferences can be ordered from IiME

Monday, 3 June 2013

Professor Malcolm Hooper presented with prize at IiME Conference

At the recent Invest in ME (IiME) conference, the Norwegian ME Association presented Professor Malcolm Hooper with a prize, consisting of a framed citation and beautiful hand-made glass vase in recognition of his "untiring and exceptional contribution to the ME cause".
The award states -
Professor Malcolm Hooper has stood on the barricades for years and fought for ME from many angles. He is described as a real "warrior", which is very true. It is noteworthy that he is fighting for a disease with which he has no personal involvement.
He has written informative documents, published articles in international journals and fought politically. He gives lectures and has often spoken out against opponents such as Professor Simon Wessely, and other key individuals and institutions in the psychosocial environment. In addition, he has been an active part of the work of Invest in ME, has chaired their conferences several times, and has been their professional supporter.
The Norwegian ME Association has, on many occasions, approached him for advice in specific situations, and has benefited from the advice he has given in our struggle for recognition in Norway.
On behalf of the Norwegian ME Association it gives me great pleasure to present this ME Award to Professor Malcolm Hooper for his untiring and exceptional contribution to the ME cause.

A report on the IiME Conference can be found at