The National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a request for Center grant proposals, with a promise to fund two to three regional ME/CFS Collaborative Research Centers as early as September 2017. The NVCBR research team and their collaborators are working hard to create a competitive proposal based on the knowledge that they have gained through their many revealing studies.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to apply for major federal research support on behalf of all of those who suffer the disabling effects of ME/CFS,” stated Annette Whittemore, President and CEO of NVCBR. “We have always hoped that the federal government would support comprehensive research centers across America. We applaud the National Institutes of Health, particularly Director Dr. Francis Collins and Program Director Dr. Vicky Whittemore, for their commitment to funding comprehensive ME/CFS research centers in addition to other promising ME/CFS research proposals.”
The plan appears to be similar to the ACE (Autism Centers of Excellence) program, which currently comprises three research centers and eight research networks around the United States. Networks such as these have been instrumental to research progress in many other diseases. They can help shorten the time it takes to biologically define a disease and encourage pharmaceutical research and development of effective treatments, something that patients with ME/CFS have been seeking for decades.
“The overarching goal of this initiative is to establish a network of Centers that will work collaboratively to define the cause(s) of and discover improved treatments for ME/CFS,” according to the funding opportunity announcement. “A more immediate goal for each Center is to rapidly advance synergistic, interdisciplinary research programs while serving as local resources and national leaders in ME/CFS research.”
The Centers will be funded by various NIH components, with funding limits for each Center set at 1.2 million dollars per year for up to 5 years. This is a major improvement over previous years in which federal funding was limited to specific research proposals. This increase in a federal commitment to ME/CFS research might also lead to pharmaceutical support of treatment trials within a few years, something that cannot happen soon enough for the millions who are disabled and without treatment.
You can read the entire funding opportunity notice at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-NS-17-021.html