A A A Text size

New Genetics Research Grant Secured launching LOCOME

December 15, 2023

PrecisionLife Project Awarded Innovate UK Grant to Improve Diagnosis and Treatment of ME/CFS and Long Covid

  • Innovative precision medicine project to diagnose ME/CFS more accurately and long Covid and find the most appropriate treatment options for patients.
  • PrecisionLife will perform combinatorial analysis on long Covid datasets and the world's largest collection of ME/CFS patient data to identify the mechanisms causing the diseases.
  • The project builds on previous studies into ME/CFS and long Covid undertaken by PrecisionLife in collaboration with Action for M.E. and University of Edinburgh.

Leading computational biology company PrecisionLife®, which is driving precision medicine in complex chronic diseases, Action for M.E., and the MRC Human Genetics Unit at the Institute of Genetics and Cancer, University of Edinburgh have been awarded a £622,000 grant by Innovate UK's Advancing Precision Medicine programme to improve diagnosis and treatment for the millions of people affected by ME/CFS and long Covid.

ME/CFS and long Covid are debilitating conditions profoundly affecting the quality of life of over two million people in the UK. PrecisionLife’s platform recently identified the first reproducible genetic associations with ME/CFS and long Covid. Before then, little was known about the genetic causes of either disease, which have no effective diagnostic tools or disease modifying therapies.

The LOCOME (Long Covid and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis diagnostics and stratification) project will extend PrecisionLife’s previous analyses to include deeper multimodal data for a wider group of patients from long Covid datasets and the world's largest study of ME/CFS, led by the DecodeME Partnership, which includes Action for M.E. and the MRC Human Genetics Unit.

PrecisionLife will use its precision medicine and mechanistic patient stratification approach to identify the factors driving disease in different patient subgroups through combinatorial analysis of the DecodeME data. The insights and biomarkers that this generates will be used to create the first predictive diagnostic tools to rapidly triage people presenting with potential ME/CFS or long Covid symptoms and identify novel repurposing opportunities to accelerate access to disease modifying treatments for patients.

“LOCOME will demonstrate a powerful new ability to generate clinically useful disease insights from patient datasets that can be applied in a rapid and cost-efficient manner in healthcare settings to improve diagnosis and treatment of the most challenging and costly diseases which have huge unmet medical need. Upon demonstrating success for ME/CFS and long Covid patients, we hope to also apply this precision medicine approach to multiple diseases of aging in respiratory, dementia, autoimmune, and metabolic diseases to benefit millions more people.”

Steve Gardner, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, PrecisionLife

“We are delighted to partner with PrecisionLife, through the Genetic Centre of Excellence that we are establishing with the University of Edinburgh. People with M.E. deserve greater investment in research to help identify a diagnostic test and treatments and this is another step on that journey. By working together, we aim to accelerate research into personalised diagnosis and treatment.”

Sonya Chowdhury, PhD, Chief Executive, Action for M.E.

ME/CFS and long Covid come at a high cost to the people living with these conditions, the economy, and the NHS, yet we know less about their molecular causes and how to treat them effectively than we do about many rarer and less disabling diseases. By injecting badly needed robust genetic evidence into these research fields, and by improving the wider perception of research in these areas, we hope to encourage skilled investigators to apply their cross-disciplinary expertise to address future challenges in ME/CFS and long Covid research. The LOCOME project should provide valuable new insights from genetic data on what is going wrong in these devastating diseases.

Professor Chris Ponting, DPhil, Chair of Medical Bioinformatics, MRC Human Genetics Unit

Download the full press release including contact details and information about the partners undertaking this research.