Update on proposals submitted to MRC relating to CFS/ME

A contact has provided the following recent update he has received from the MRC:

“Further to your request below I am writing to provide you with an update on proposals submitted to the MRC relating to CFS/ME since your last request, in April 2007.

A further four applications have been considered by the MRC since March 2007, one further application is still under consideration. Of the four proposals considered during the period, one application has been funded;

General and specific risk markers and preventative factors for chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndromes: Dr C Clark, University of London

Total award £367k (27/05/2008 – 26/05/2010)

Summary information on the three applications not funded is as follows;

1) Biomarkers of CFS/ME- (pathophysiology)

2) CFS/ME management and treatment (intervention)

3) CFS/ME management and treatment (observational study)

As you know the MRC continues to welcome high-quality applications for support into any aspect of human health, and remains committed to funding scientific research into all aspects of CFS/ME.”



Ongoing MRC funded studies

Vince Cable MP, deputy Lib Dem leader, recently tabled a question on biomedical research into ME in the House of Commons.  A written answer was provided by Ian Pearson MP, Minister of State for Science and Innovation.

Vince Cable:

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much has been allocated from public funds for research into the biomedical causes of myalgic encephalomyelitis/encephalopathy in 2008-09; what proportion of Government spending on research into the condition this sum represents; how much has been allocated for research into psychological conditions in 2008-09; and how many clinical co-ordinating centres serving patients with psychological disorders have (a) closed and (b) had a reduction in public funding since 2003.

Ian Pearson’s response:

The Medical Research Council is one of the main agencies through which the Government support medical and clinical research. Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) is a strategic priority area for the MRC and the Council is continuing to promote research in this area. The MRC does not have set budgets for specific illnesses and research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available. The MRC welcomes applications for support into any aspect of human health and these are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the scientific quality of the proposals made.

The MRC currently supports a number of studies in CFS/ME, as follows:

Professor K. Bhui, Queen Mary and Westfield College: Chronic fatigue and ethnicity (£162,000)

Dr. C. Clark, Centre for Psychiatry, Barts and the London School of Medicine: General and specific risk markers and preventive factors for chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndromes (funding approved in November 2007 (£367,000)

Professor A. J. Weardon* [sic] et al, University of Manchester: Randomised controlled trial of nurse-led self-help treatment for primary care patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (£743,000)  (FINE Trial)

Professor P. D. White et al, Queen Mary and Westfield College: The PACE Trial: A RCT of CBT, graded exercise, adaptive pacing and usual medical care for the chronic fatigue syndrome (£2.07 million)

*Dr A. J. Wearden

For full article see:



Re: MRC: Chronic Fatigue and Ethnicity, Principal Investigator: Prof Kam Bhui

It has been established from the website of the University of Manchester that Prof James Nazroo, is co-PI for this study with Prof Kam Bhui.  The co-researchers for this study are given on the University of Manchester website as “Ashby, Wessely and White” – presumably, Prof Simon Wessely, Prof Peter Denton White.

An application has been made, today (20 June), for a copy of the research protocol for this MRC Chronic Fatigue and Ethnicity study.


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