Samples from our Biobank are available to external researchers around the globe; making these samples available to other researchers increases the chances of achieving much-needed breakthroughs into the cause and treatment of ME/CFS, in the most cost-effective manner.
Here are our current collaborators, and their stories:
Dr Jackie Cliff is an Assistant Professor in Immunology, and our Laboratory Research Lead at The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Her expertise in immunology and genetic expression has been an asset to the team and has yielded some promising results, for publication in 2018, on the virology, immunology and genetic expression of ME/CFS. She works with Professor of Immunology Hazel Dockrell and a broader lab team at the LSHTM on our principal NIH R01 grant.
In December 2017 we recruited 60 more participants for her subsidiary grant (also funded by the US NIH), which enabled comprehensive assessments of cases of ME/CFS, using saliva and urine samples, at regular monthly intervals. This greatly enhances the chances of a breakthrough in the understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease.
Professor Jo Cambridge is a Professorial Research Associate at University College London, and was the Principal Investigator of the Invest in ME UK Rituximab Clinical Trial.
She has significant experience in rheumatoid arthritis research, and now works with us on an ME Association-funded award assessing T- and B-cell abnormalities and metabolomics in ME/CFS, with Research Assistant Fane Mensah.
Dr Elisa Oltra is a Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology at the Catholic University of Valencia in Spain, where she also works as a researcher in stem-cell and cancer studies. She received samples from the Biobank in June 2017, to conduct a study into the microRNA profiles of people with ME.
Encouraged by the idea that miR profiling may be altered in ME/CFS, her group have been looking at blood samples, and other body fluids, to see if there are any significant abnormalities. In their initial study, they have looked at miRs in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in patients with both ME/CFS and age-matched controls and those with FM.
They are now extending this study to include a larger group of participants with a more varied symptom profile with the aim of symptom profiling and producing symptom severity miR profiles.
Dr Camila Malto Romano is a microbiologist at the Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo at Universidade de São Paulo, where she researches viral evolution and virus-host interaction. In September 2017 she received samples from the UKMEB to begin a study into ME/CFS.
Her group has been working with endogenous retrovirus (ERV) activity in healthy and neurological disorders, looking for distinct expression profiles of the ERVs that would be linked to the development of diseases of unknown or supposedly multiple aetiologies. Their most recent project, ‘Investigation of human endogenous retrovirus expression in individuals with myalgic encephalomyelitis’, intendd to identify differences in expression profiles of the endogenous retroviruses between healthy and ME/CFS patients. Although ERVs have been very well explored on several conditions, there is a lack of studies dedicated to their role on ME/CFS.
Dr Karl Morten is a senior researcher and laboratory manager at the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford University.
In November 2017 we released a batch of samples to Dr Morten. This sample release represents the culmination of a year’s fundraising and planning, initiated by the ME Association in their 2016 Christmas Appeal.
Dr Morten’s research will use mass spectrometry techniques (among others) to investigate metabolites, chemical clues that have been left behind after metabolism in the cells of people with ME.
Professor Eran Segal is a computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. His team are using serum from the UKMEB in a project entitled “Deciphering antibody reactivities against autoantigens & the microbiome in ME/CFS”, using assays to determine the role and mechanisms of antibody mediated autoimmunity in the disease (with postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Thomas Vogl).