The most recent research grants funded by the CFIDS Association of America have supported six principal investigators and the projects that were evaluated to have the highest scientific and strategic merit among those submitted during our 2008 cycle. We awarded funding totaling $647,940 to support these research studies, thanks to the generosity of our donors. This report builds on earlier progress updates and we’ll continue to keep you informed about additional outcomes you made possible. A condensed version of this report was originally published in the summer-fall 2011 issue of our print publication, SolveCFS. You can find links to other materials about Dr. Light’s research at the bottom of this page and links to reports on the other five projects here: http://www.research1st.com/2011/11/28/accelerate/.
Principal Investigator: Kathleen Light, PhD
Institution: University of Utah
- Alan R. Light: University of Utah
- Lucinda Bateman: Fatigue Consultation Clinic, Salt Lake City, Utah
Project Title: Novel ion channel-based biomarkers in CFS
Objective: Evaluate postexercise increases in acid-sensing and ion channel receptors on blood cells.
- Support from a pharmaceutical company to conduct a treatment trial of FDA-approved medications.
- Supplemental support from organizations supporting MS and fibromyalgia research to include additional comparison groups.
- New R01 award from the National Institutes of Health, “Post-exercise ion channel gene expression biomarkers in CFS.” Total funding: $1,009,125. Link to award notice: http://bit.ly/rGDEuv
- Several other grant applications are under review.
- Moderate exercise increases expression for sensory, adrenergic and immune genes in CFS but not in normal subjects. Journal of Pain. 2009.
- Gene expression alterations at baseline following moderate exercise in patients with CFS and fibromyalgia syndrome. Journal of Internal Medicine. May 26, 2011. Link: http://bit.ly/tKk5Dt
- Evidence for a heritable predisposition to CFS. BMC Neurology. May 27, 2011. http://bit.ly/lxrhla
- Additional manuscripts in preparation and under review.
Summary of Journal of Internal Medicine article:
Exercise Challenge Reveals Potential Biomarkers: Following up on earlier work, this University of Utah team has reported that a sustained moderate exercise challenge of 25 minutes provoked gene expression changes that meet published criteria for a “Very Good” to “Excellent” diagnostic tool for a subgroup of CFS patients studied. Forty-eight CFS patients were studied and two distinct subgroups were identified on the basis of changes to the α-2A receptor, a key regulator of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. The larger group of CFS subjects (71%) could be identified with a combination of four biomarkers (P2XR, α-2A, β-2 and IL10) at any time point within 48 hours following the exercise challenge with high specificity and sensitivity. The smaller group showed a large decrease in α-2A, opposite of the larger group. Most of the members of this subgroup had a clinical history of orthostatic intolerance. 18 subjects with fibromyalgia were also evaluated and a baseline marker combining 3 genes was identified. All subjects in the study (CFS and FM) exhibited post-exertional relapse of symptoms for at least 48 hours following the exercise task, but 49 healthy controls did not. (Link to detailed summary.)
What has the Association’s support has meant to your research?
Dr. Light: “Support from the CFIDS Association for our research program on blood-based biomarkers of CFS/ME was vital in keeping this program alive. The data obtained using this support made it clear that we can use post-exertional gene expression for selected markers to differentiate patients with CFS from those with other disorders involving daily fatigue, like multiple sclerosis, as well as from healthy individuals. With this evidence in hand, we are also able to obtain a new RO1 award from the National Institutes of Health. This new NIH R01 grant will assess whether our post-exertional biomarkers can differentiate CFS from clinical depression. Objective biomarkers for CFS will be valuable in diagnosis and to help individualize treatments for specific patients. Thank you to the CFIDS Association and its generous donors for this very important support.”
- “IACFS/ME international conference summary,” article by Dr. Charles Lapp, including presentation by Dr. Kathleen Light (Research1st, Oct. 13, 2011)
- “National Institutes of Health funds $1 million study on fatigue,” Daily Utah Chronicle (Sept. 21, 2011)
- “Kathleen Light’s group secures million-dollar NIH award,” article by Kim McCleary (Research1st, Sept. 19, 2011)
- NIH Award Notice for R01 “Post-exercise ion channel gene expression biomarkers in CFS.” (Sept. 15, 2011)
- “Shedding light on biomarkers,” article by Dr. Alan Light (Research1st, Aug. 2, 2011)
- “International case definition published for myalgic encephalomyelitis,” summary of new definition published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, of which Dr. Alan Light was a co-author (Research1st, July 25, 2011)
- “Exercise challenge reveals potential biomarkers,” analysis of the Journal of Internal Medicine publication of the Light’s data (Research1st, June 2, 2011)
- “Meeting Summary: ME/CFS State of the Knowledge Workshop,” including presentation by Dr. Kathy Light (Research1st, June 28, 2011)
- “Association research program update,” webinar by Dr. Suzanne Vernon (July 8, 2010) (Webinar slides)
- “Association researchers making headway,” update by Dr. Suzanne Vernon about Dr. Light’s project and others funded by the Association (Jan. 6, 2010)
- “Banbury Meeting: Perfect setting, packed agenda, productive dialogue, promising outcomes,” report on the Association’s mid-term investigator meeting (Research1st, Oct. 6, 2009)
- “A light at the end of the tunnel: Blood biomarkers for CFS,” article by Dr. Suzanne Vernon about the Light’s 2009 Journal of Pain publication (Research1st, Aug. 5, 2009)
- “Association launches first funded CFS research network,” article by Kim McCleary about the Association’s first investigator meeting (Research1st, Feb. 1, 2009)
- “Shedding light on fatigue and pain,” a profile of Dr. Light and her research (CFIDS Chronicle, winter 2009)
- Sponsored research program of the CFIDS Association of America , description of the Association’s program including descriptions of grants funded (Research1st, May 2011, with periodic updates)