Driving research of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS),
Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), Fibromyalgia and Long Covid

Meet Dr. Dan Wilkinson, Award Winning ME/CFS Researcher

From the desk of Ronald Tompkins, MD, ScD 
Chief Medical Officer, Open Medicine Foundation

ME/CFS researchers
receive prestigious award for
innovative studies

I am pleased to call attention to two up-and-coming researchers assisting with the OMF-funded Harvard ME / CFS collaboration. Dr. Rosa Maria Pari Ñaña of Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Dr. Dan Wilkinson of the University of Nottingham have each been awarded prestigious grants for ME / CFS research by the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. This is the first time since 2010 that the program has considered applications for ME / CFS research.

Entitled the 2020 “Discovery Award,” the grant is awarded to young investigators. Together, the two awards total $547,201 over the next two years.

Recently, OMF had the pleasure to chat with Dr. Wilkinson about his team’s work and what it means to receive this grant for ME / CFS research. In collaboration with his mentors Profs Philip Atherton and Paul Greenhaff, Dr. Wilkinson’s research uses novel proteomic analytical approaches to better understand the molecular basis for post-exertional malaise in skeletal muscle, a key symptom in people with ME / CFS:

What motivated you to pursue the field of ME / CFS research?

When researching the disease, I was shocked to discover just how prevalent it was, and despite the prevalence and years of dedicated research within the field, how little is still known about the underlying pathology driving ME / CFS.

It is my hope that the new techniques proposed in this research could assist in uncovering the unknown causes of ME / CFS, which could be vital for understanding this disease going forward.


Left to right: Dr. Dan Wilkinson, Professor Paul Greenhaff, and Professor Philip Atherton

What is your team’s current research focus? 

We are collaborating with Dr. Ron Tompkins and Dr. Wenzhong Xiao, co-directors of the OMF-funded Harvard ME / CFS collaboration, to better understand how chronic low levels of physical activity can potentially cloud the cause of ME / CFS. We hope to build on this research by combining the technological and biological expertise of both teams.

What do you most hope to achieve from your team’s current research?

Our biggest hope is that this work will have a positive impact on the lives of people suffering from ME / CFS. With no effective diagnostic tests or interventions currently available, a different approach to investigating this disease is greatly needed. We hope the novel approaches we are proposing in this project could aid in the development of diagnostic tools and effective treatments.

What gives me the most hope is the rapid advances in technology, which are facilitating our work to understand human disease and underlying pathology. With continuing technological developments, our understanding of this complex condition will be greatly improved and our chances of improving the quality of life for ME / CFS sufferers will also improve.

*Stay tuned for an interview with ME / CFS researcher Dr. Rosa Maria Pari Ñaña on her Discovery Award research entitled, “Neurovascular Dysregulation in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” *

We hope that you’re as inspired as we are to have these bright young researchers join OMF in our quest to find a diagnosis, treatment and a cure for ME / CFS and related chronic, complex diseases.

We can’t fund these critical studies without your support.
As 2020 comes to a close, please consider giving the gift of hope by
donating to OMF today!

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS) Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), Fibromyalgia Leading Research. Delivering Hope.Open Medicine Foundation®

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Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS) Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), Fibromyalgia Leading Research. Delivering Hope.Open Medicine Foundation®

Averting a second pandemic:

Open Medicine Foundation leads groundbreaking international study of

Long COVID’s conversion to ME/CFS

AGOURA HILLS, CALIF.  — Open Medicine Foundation (OMF) is leading a large-scale international collaborative study investigating the potential conversion of Post-Acute Sequelae SARS-CoV-2 infection — more commonly known as Long COVID or Post-COVID Syndrome —  to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), a chronic, life-altering disease with no known cause, diagnostic test or FDA approved treatments available.

Up to 2.5 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from ME/CFS; the COVID-19 pandemic could at least double that number. An estimated 35 percent of Americans who had COVID-19 have failed to fully recover several months after infection, prompting many to call it “a potential second pandemic.”

OMF recognized a familiar health crisis emerging, one with eerie similarities to ME/CFS. This crisis presented a unique opportunity to understand how a viral infection — in this case COVID-19 — may develop into ME/CFS in some patients. The goal is to find targeted treatments for ME/CFS patients and ultimately prevent its onset in people infected with SARS-CoV-2 or other infections.

The federal government is only now investing in Post-COVID research, with no focus on its connection to ME/CFS. OMF has already engaged researchers for the largest-scale study of its kind, solely supported by private donors who have contributed over one million dollars to date. When fully funded, the five million dollar, three-year study will be conducted across the globe at OMF funded Collaborative Research Centers, led by some of the world’s top researchers and ME/CFS experts.

BACKGROUND

In a significant percentage of patients, infections preceded their development of ME/CFS.  For example, according to the CDC about one in ten infected with Epstein-Barr virus, Ross River virus, or Coxiella burnetti develop symptoms that meet the criteria for ME/CFS.

THE STUDY

The ability to follow the development of ME/CFS from a known viral infection is unprecedented to date and crucial to researchers’ understanding of the disease. The focus of this study is to find the biological differences between persons returning to good health after COVID-19 and persons who remained ill more than six months after infection and developed ME/CFS.  Understanding these alterations in key pathways can lead to groundbreaking discoveries including new biomarkers, drug targets, and prevention and treatment strategies.

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About Open Medicine Foundation

Established in 2012, Open Medicine Foundation leads the largest, concerted worldwide nonprofit effort to diagnose, treat, and prevent ME/CFS and related chronic, complex diseases such as Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Post COVID. OMF adds urgency to the search for answers by driving transformational philanthropy into global research. We have raised over $28 Million from private donors and facilitated and funded the establishment of six prestigious ME/CFS Collaborative Research Centers around the world. To learn more, visit www.omf.ngo.

CONTACT:

Heather Ah San

Development and Communications Manager

1-650-242-8669

heather@omf.ngo