From a recent CFS Research Foundation Newsletter (Newsletter 12)
The Medical Research Council
We have all been frustrated over the years by the attitude of the MRC to CFS/ME. They have assured us that they felt this was an important area of research, but grant applications were turned down. Dr Kerr and the Foundation submitted three applications all of which went to the Neuroscience and Mental Health Board. These applications were dealing with neither neuroscience nor mental health. In spite of protests from the Foundation the MRC refused to remove our grant applications to a more appropriate board.
With the appointment of Professor Leszek Borysiewicz as chief executive officer, the MRC is undertaking a major restructuring and is creating four boards under the headings of physiological and clinical science, neuroscience and mental health, infection and immunity and cellular and molecular. A panel is to be appointed to tackle the wider issues of CFS/ME with Professor Stephen Holgate* as chairman. Professor Holgate is a member of our research committee. It is expected that the group will meet in April or May 2008 with crossboard membership along with outside groups which, it is hoped, will lead to a workshop. It is felt that there is a real opportunity for coming together to put issues on the table. A report will then go to the four boards. It is hoped that this could lead to the eventual training of more scientists in this field. It is anticipated by the end of 2008 that the MRC will have an agenda and that it would like to work with and involve peer review groups.
It will be appreciated that there are only two peer review groups in the country at the moment of which the Foundation is one.
While welcoming this initiative members of the research committee are quite adamant that we should keep our own identity and should carry on our good work. In any case these initiatives take a long time to come to fruition and in the meantime thousands of people are suffering from this illness. So, the Foundation will continue to seek for new scientific research and to make every endeavour to provide funds to enable this research to go forward.
The CFS Research Foundation: http://www.cfsrf.com/