The pioneering ME/CFS biobank project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine received dramatic news recently, when the USA’s National Institutes of Health awarded the project £1,029,411 ($1,588,225) over three years. Since 2011, a consortium of charities – ME Research UK, the ME Association and Action for ME –have been funding the ‘establishment phase’ of the Biobank with the help of a private donor. It was always hoped that a major funder would contribute towards the next ‘expansion’ phase, so it was marvellous to see the prestigious National Institutes of Health stepping up to the plate. The grant will enable research on the immunology and genetics of ME/CFS, and will help expand the Biobank to store samples from over 500 participants, which will be made available to medical researchers internationally. The photo shows Dr Erinna Bowman, Dr Luis Nacul and Dr Eliana Lacerda after a recent meeting of the Biobank steering group.
Dr Neil Abbot from ME Research UK, a named collaborator and ‘other significant contributor’ on the grant application, said: “The creation of a biobank infrastructure for ME/CFS – linking bio-specimens with clinical, disease and other data over the long term – couldn’t have happened without collaboration between charities. The award of this grant from the National Institutes of Health shows the success of this approach, and the whole Biobank team deserve congratulations on this tremendous news”. The press announcement can still be read, and the London School has further information on the biobank and the group’s research (including how to donate) on its website.