The CFIDS Association has launched a campaign to raise $1 million for CFS research by the end of 2008. In March a Request for Applications (RFA) went out to 500 researchers, soliciting proposals for studies that will advance the discovery of biomarkers and methods for early detection, objective diagnosis and effective treatment.
The CFIDS Association feels that now is the perfect time to embark on this aggressive campaign due to the improved media and public awareness over the past few years and the promising research advances that have been made with the illness.
Over the past 20 years, the CFIDS Association has made great strides in ME/CFS research and they have been able to learn a lot about the illness during that time such as the body systems CFS affects and some of the complex biologic mechanisms involved in the illness. But the answers to the basic questions about dailiy living and being able to get back to a normal life with ME/CFS has continued to elude even the most intelligent of researchers and scientists.
The Campaign to Accelerate CFS Research marks the largest independent initiative ever undertaken by the Associationand the largest, most concentrated effort ever undertaken by a nongovernmental entity to discover biomarkers, diagnostics and treatments for this illness.
According to the CFIDS Association, only through a multifaceted strategy will they build the scientific momentum necessary to transform CFS into a condition that is treatable, preventable and curable. What does this entail?
- Providing more funding for high-quality ME/CFS studies.
- Pushing the federal government to make CFS a greater priority.
- Fostering increased collaboration among CFS researchers.
- As mentioned above, the CFIDS Association issued a Request for Applications (RFA) on March 3, 2008, to nearly 500 researchers.
- The announcement was posted to the Science magazine’s website to increase visibility for CFS and expand the pool of applicants.
- Proposals meeting rigorous review standards will be granted awards this fall based on scientific merit and strategic importance.
- If donations permit, the Association plans to support 6 – 8 new studies while closely monitoring progress & tracking performance of the investigators that have been funded.
Under the expert guidance of the Association’s scientific director, Dr. Suzanne Vernon, a CFS specialist with a PhD in microbiology, the CFIDS Association is:
- Encouraging the application of cutting-edge technology to analyze existing data in new ways.
- Fostering collaborations among investigators and other potential funding sources.
- Drawing on the knowledge of gifted scientists in other fields of medical research.
- Recruiting new scientific talent to the CFS field.
- Aggressively promoting regular, vigorous communication within the scientific community to maximize results.
The goal of raising $1 million by the end of this year gives the Association hope to generate unprecedented momentum, marking the beginning of the end of this complex, debilitating illness. Its a bold vision, but necessary if they expect to effect more rapid change.