Question in Parliament: biomedical research into ME and the XMRV virus

December 8, 2009

Liberal Democrat MP Paul Rowen has been nailing his colours to the cause of biomedical research into ME lately. In the latest of a series of written Parliamentary Questions, the Rochdale MP asked the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what biomedical research is being undertaken into ME and the XMRV virus.

In a written reply yesterday (Monday 7 December, 2009), David Lammy (Minister of State for Higher Education and Intellectual Property) answered:

The Medical Research Councikl (MRC)is one of the main agencies through which the Government support medical and clinical research. The MRC is an independent body which receives its grant in aid from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

In 2008-09, the MRC's total expenditure for research relating to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) amounted to £728,000. This supported four projects including a £164,000 research programme led by Dr. C Clark at Queen Mary College, London on the general and specific risk markers and preventive factors for chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndromes. CFS/ME continues to be a strategic priority area for funding and the MRC remains committed to supporting scientific research into all aspects of CFS/ME including evaluations of treatments and studies into the biological basis of the condition.

The MRC recently held a CFS/ME research workshop where the recent xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related virus (XMRV) findings were among the items discussed. A note of the discussions will be published on the MRC website in due course.

The MRC's National Institute for Medical Research are leading a programme on infection and replication of retroviruses (including XMRV). One study within the programme is looking at how XMRV reproduces in the cell, its interaction with host cell factors and how it subverts the host immune systems.


To read previous answers to Parliamentary Questions about biomedical research into ME and making ME a notifiable illness in schools, both tabled by Paul Rowen MP, click here. He's asked other questions on ME since then, but they have not been reported on this website because he did not receive substantive replies.

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