Image description: The picture shows a collection of blood samples in storage and a person removing 1 sample. The title reads: The ME Association renews funding arrangement with UK ME/CFS Biobank. MEA logo bottom right

The ME Association renews funding arrangement with UK ME/CFS Biobank

The ME Association Ramsay Research Fund has been supporting the operational costs of the UK ME/CFS Biobank (UKMEB) since it was established in 2011. We believe it to be a vital infrastructure project and can now confirm the funding arrangement will continue for a further 2 years.

Funding has enabled the CureME team at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) to successfully establish a Biobank with an international reputation for quality and efficiency. It has gained improved visibility, which has led to increased requests for samples from ME/CFS researchers around the world.

Dr Eliana Lacerda, Caroline Kingdon, and Susan Sheedy will each be supported by the additional grant allowing them to continue with UKMEB operations. The team will be able to keep the facility running and perform the many procedures it involves – from the receipt of research applications to the delivery of samples and ongoing storage arrangements.

The UKMEB has provided samples and data to many ME/CFS research groups in the UK, Europe, North America, Latin America, and the Middle East. The true worth of the facility is underlined by the publications coming from the release of samples and the associated papers, which are widely cited in the literature and serve to advance knowledge and understanding of ME/CFS.

With funding from the new grant, the CureME team will:

1. Replenish samples:

The team will seek to replenish the aliquots which have been depleted by recruiting additional research participants. This will require additional nursing time and the cost of clinical tests and of processing and storing samples.

The team also intend to add a sub-cohort of participants with Long-Covid, including those presenting with ME/CFS features, and those without.

2. Increase clinical and educational work:

The team will continue to produce educational resources to people with ME/CFS, fellow researchers and healthcare professionals.

3. Grow communication and fundraising:

The team intend to appeal to major donors, with the help of the LSHTM’s fundraising team, to enhance the UKMEB’s global profile and to attract further users.

The goal has always been that the UKMEB would become self-sustaining and significant progress has already been made in this regard.

“The LSHTM CureME team welcomes the generous award from the Ramsay Research Fund, which will greatly facilitate the further collection, dissemination, and storage of samples and data from the UK ME/CFS Biobank.

“The success of this unique collection is testament to the strict quality and operational controls in place since its inception, which have been guided by people with ME/CFS and experts in the field.”

Caroline Kingdon, Research Fellow, and Biobank Coordinator.

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