Genes study resumes today

February 13, 2007

A vital ME
Association-funded study into the genetic origins of ME/CFS enters a
new phase today (Monday, February 12) – when a full-time research
assistant joins the team at Glasgow Caledonian University.

study – a world-leader in that it is exploring the whole human genome
of 33,000 genes, compared with smaller studies elsewhere – was set up
originally two years ago by Dr John Gow at Glasgow University. It was
then delayed when it proved impossible to find funding for more than a
small-scale first stage.

But then Dr Gow moved to Glasgow
Caledonian University as their director for forensic investigation, was
awarded a full professorship and given permission to recruit a
full-time researcher to the ME/CFS project.

The arrival of the
new research assistant, Dr Gillian Gibson PhD, means that Professor Gow
can pick up the reins again – as of today.

"This is good news
for cutting-edge research into how the vast number of genes in the body
behave in people with ME/CFS", said Dr Charles Shepherd, medical
adviser to The ME Association.

"We know from the work that John
has done so far that significant abnormalities in some genes appear to
be uniquely expressed in people with ME/CFS. He can now forge ahead to
test the science involved through the recruitment of a wider spread of
research volunteers."

The study is being funded by The ME
Association's Ramsay Research Fund, which is wholly dedicated to
promoting research into the physical nature and causes of the illness.

the phase starting this week, Professor Gow will be recruiting healthy
volunteers as control samples, as well as patients suffering from other
disorders such as depression where fatigue can be a major clinical
feature. Clinicians who will be providing the research volunteers are
now being alerted to the resumption of work.

Dr Shepherd
commented: "There is as yet no reliable diagnostic test for ME/CFS, and
no proven cure. The ultimate aims of this study are to identify
specific genetic markers that can be used as a diagnostic test and to
assess new forms of treatment specifically aimed at correcting the
genetic abnormalities involved in ME."


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