Staff at the UK ME/CFS Biobank are raring to go international next year – having just appointed their first-ever biobank co-ordinator and project manager. Hayley Curran has joined the team at the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with a brief to open up the biobank to researchers round the world early in 2016.
Hayley, a trained nurse and medical anthropologist with a Master's dissertation in living with the illness under her belt, is introduced to supporters in the biobank's end-of-year newsletter which came out this week. Another relative newcomer is Arit Arunkumar, a fourth-year medical student from San Francisco, who is on a year's scholarship to study ME/CFS
It's been a year of solid achievement for the biobank where the equipment and the freezers that store the samples are actually based within a much larger facility in the world-acclaimed University College London/Royal Free Hospital Biobank.
* Staff have now recruited over 500 people who have donated their blood, some of them more than once.
* They now have 25,000 samples ready to be used for biomedical research round the world.
* They have reached their target number of donors with ME/CFS, although they still need a few more sample from controls who have multiple sclerosis and healthy controls (if you know anyone who might help here, please contact the outreach nurse Caroline Kingdon at firstname.lastname@example.org).
* They presented some of their latest research findings at the UK CFS/ME Research Collaborative conference in Newcastle in October
* And the team co-authored a new European research proposal to boost collaboration with other research institutions on the Continent.
The ME Association's medical adviser, Dr Charles Shepherd, has also been chairing the biobank steering group for the past year.
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