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MEGA M.E. research project: first of its kind in UK

May 16, 2016

A new alliance of researchers, the M.E./CFS Epidemiology and Genomics Alliance (MEGA), has come together to advance M.E. research.

Last year's UK CFS/M.E. Research Collaborative (CMRC) conference saw CMRC Chair Prof Stephen Holgate announce that the CMRC would initiate a Grand Challenge to bring together leading UK researchers from a wide range of specialisms to help drive forward research, and ultimately treatment, into M.E.

A Grand Challenge workshop was held in April in Bristol and the new alliance has formed as a result.

The MEGA report from the workshop says: 

"In this big data study, the first of its kind in the UK, each patient will be asked to provide blood and urine samples which would then allow researchers to investigate, in terms of DNA, RNA and other molecules, what distinguishes individuals with CFS/ME from controls. In other words, what are the distinctive genetics, epigenetics, proteomics and metabolomics of CFS/ME?

"Doing this will allow us to understand more about the causes and underlying biology of CFS/ME but also about the different types (sub-phenotypes) which may be caused by different underlying mechanisms. This may eventually enable us to develop new diagnostic tests and new treatments for each sub-phenotype."

The report also highlights that engagement of people with M.E. will be an essential part of this research:

"This will include establishing advisory groups, for adults as well as for children and young people with CFS/ME. The group also considered the importance of maintaining good two-way communication with the wider community and providing updates on the progress being made."