Trinity College Dublin, 29 March, 2018.
Assistant Professor of Economics at Trinity, Dominic Trépel, has been appointed Ireland’s representative on a newly established research network, which seeks to improve our understanding of the economic consequences and social impact of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)).
The condition significantly reduces quality of life for those affected by it and, if left unaddressed, may have significant economic implications to individuals and to wider society. There are substantial gaps in our knowledge of the impact of this complex disease, but the new ‘European Network on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (EUROMENE)’ mission is to address these.
Professor Trépel said: “Despite subjective and unclear diagnostic criteria and approaches to clinical case definition, ME/CFS is increasingly recognised as a neuro-immune disorder characterised by symptoms like chronic low-grade inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, autoimmune reactions and brain disorders. However, we still don’t know much about how it develops.”
“Currently, the fragmented nature of ME/CFS research in Europe means there is no common platform or database on such cases, guidelines for diagnosis and treatment are lacking, and there are no inclusive estimates on the economic impact of the disease across Europe. The new European network of research groups will provide the means to address these gaps.”
The network will establish an interconnected group of researchers working on ME/CFS and is built on the principles of multidisciplinarity, ensuring the: involvement of patients and other stakeholders; strategic coordination with multiple stakeholders; attraction of early career investigators; involvement of COST countries and Near Neighbour Countries; fostering of international cooperation.
The principal objective is to create an integrated network of researchers in the European Union/Associated and Near Neighbour Countries accompanied by a network of facilities and associated training establishments. It will also foster a full chain of translational research to further develop much-needed treatments and prevention strategies for the improvement of patients’ quality of life.
Two other members of EUROMENE are in receipt of grant funding by the ME Association Ramsay Research Fund. Dr Eliana Lacerda is a member of the UK ME/CFS Biobank team at London School Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Dr Elisa Oltra from Spain is examining micro-RNA in PBMCs and exosome-enriched vesicles in people with severe ME/CFS.