This new network will create critically needed scientific knowledge about the causes of, and treatments for, ME.
It is estimated that more than 580,000 Canadians live with myalgic encephalomyelitis. This poorly understood, multi-system disease is debilitating and can strike individuals of all backgrounds and at any age.
This investment in research comes from the Government of Canada, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
"The Government of Canada is proud to be able to support the work of researchers pursuing improved quality of life for people living with this debilitating condition. Patients, their families, and caregivers are not alone in this struggle. We hear you and together we will advance research into ME and, ultimately, work towards developing testing and treatment options and better medical education," said federal Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor.
BC Women's will play a key role in this research initiative as Dr. Luis Nacul, the medical director and research director for the Complex Chronic Diseases Program, is a principal investigator in this new national network. Dr. Nacul will work with a team of patient partners, clinicians, and more than 20 researchers to fill gaps in biomedical ME research and build capacity for research into the disease here in Canada.
"Myalgic encephalomyelitis is a long-term disabling disease that greatly affects individuals who live with it. This CIHR grant is a huge opportunity for Canadian researchers and clinicians to work together with patient partners towards finding answers and developing effective treatment options to improve the quality of life for those living with ME," said Dr. Nacul, whose research time is made possible by the BCCDC Foundation for Public Health through its BCCDC Foundation Research Scholar Award.
This $1.4-million, five-year investment aims to improve the quality of life of people living with ME by:
- Investigating the causes of ME, including possible links to viruses and genes;
- Linking cohorts of patients and researchers in Canada and the U.S., enabling investigators to share research samples, clinical data and analysis methods;
- Supporting graduate students working on ME to build Canadian capacity to research this condition; and
- Benefiting from the wisdom of people with ME who are active research partners.