UK CFS/ME Research Collaborative
The UK CFS/ME Research Collaborative (CMRC) was established in April 2013 as a working group of researchers, research funding organisations and ME/CFS charities.
The overall aim of the collaborative is to promote the highest quality of basic and applied evidenced based and peer reviewed research into ME/CFS.
As a constructive discussion forum it also seeks to promote ME/CFS as an attractive and exciting field to outside researchers and to lobby for an increase in overall funding.
The CMRC helps stimulate interest in the field, assists with research applications and initiatives, and hosts an annual research conference which brings together national and international experts, researchers and clinicians new to the field, patients and carers.
For more details please see the CMRC Charter.
The CMRC is chaired by Stephen Holgate from the University of Southampton who is also Medical Research Council (MRC) Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology and Honorary Consultant Physician. It was largely because of Professor Holgate’s involvement in the MRC Expert Group on ME/CFS and his continuing determination to discover the underlying causes of the disease and find effective forms of treatment, that the collaborative was born.
The ME Association, as an active member of the MRC Expert Group, also supported Professor Holgate in establishing the CMRC and strongly believes in the importance of this working partnership – especially in helping to bring ME/CFS to the recognition of mainstream science as a legitimate biomedical disease in desperate need of increased funding.
In September 2015 it was announced that The Wellcome Trust and National Institute of Health Research would join the collaborative as observers, and that Wellcome and Arthritis Research UK would also provide significant sponsorship for the research conference. You can read more about this, here.
MEGA (ME/CFS Epidemiology and Genomics Alliance) Project
Launched as a ‘grand challenge’ by Stephen Holgate at the 2015 CMRC conference, the MEGA project aims to establish the world’s largest ME/CFS bioresource, collecting clinical data and tissue samples from 12,000 men, women, and children affected by the disease.
Once established the bioresource will enable a dedicated team including some of the UK’s top biomedical researchers to investigate underlying and contributory disease mechanisms. At the end of 2016 MEGA recruited a patient advisory group who have been working with the research team to make outline grant applications to UK funding bodies.
If the outline applications are successful then the MEGA team will need to provide more detailed submissions that are also subject to peer review before funding can be awarded and recruitment from ME/CFS specialist clinics might begin.
Dr Charles Shepherd reiterated the ME Association position on MEGA in March 2017:
“The MEA position on MEGA remains exactly the same – we will make a decision as to whether we are going to endorse and support the MEGA study when we have ALL the key information relating to concerns and questions about patient selection, diagnostic criteria, inclusion of people with severe ME/CFS etc etc. We will also take note of what the MEGA PAG (Patient Advisory Group) are saying.”
For more information about MEGA including blogs and FAQs please visit the MEGA website.
CMRC Research Conferences
2015 Newcastle conference report, here.
2014 Bristol conference report from MEA medical advisor Dr Charles Shepherd, here.
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