The Massachusetts-based National CFIDS Foundation (www.ncf-net.org), has announced two recent research grants totaling $225,000.
The focus of the grants is in line with the Foundation’s previously stated intent to “fund new research into CFIDS/ME and its association with a leukemic cell phenotype that it has identified in some patients with the disease.” They note also the gene expression paper by Kerr, et al. which reported abnormal expressed genes “associated with hematologic disease.”*
Alan Cocchetto, NCF's Medical Director, has commented that, "Through the generosity of CFIDS/ME patients along with dedicated physicians and scientific researchers, we have been able to obtain both bone marrow biopsy and blood samples that have provided us with a preliminary indication that problems exist in the bone marrow of these patients.
“By using the latest in flow cytometry technologies combined with cytogenetic profiles, the NCF has been able to advance its own theories about the disease. This has allowed us to share important data with various top experts worldwide in the leukemia field as well as those engaged in bone marrow research."**
The Grant Recipients
As detailed in a Feb 12 NCF news release (for full text, see the Co-Cure Listserv archive), the two grant recipients are:
• Hany El-Shemy, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry at Cairo University in Egypt. Dr. El-Shemy will be evaluating numerous compounds in-vitro against acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cell lines. His interests include the use of plant-based botanicals for the eradication of AML.
This research is important to the Foundation in light of patient results obtained from specialized flow cytometry and cytogenetics testing. The use of botanicals represents a novel approach towards the treatment of myelodysplastic cells that are progressing towards AML development. Early hints regarding potential treatment implications for long-term CFIDS/ME patients may result from this research. Dr. El-Shemy did his postdoctoral fellowship in leukemia with Professor Kounosuke Fujita at Hiroshima University in Japan.
Dr. El-Shemy's research is titled "Production of natural biological active formulas as anti-carcinogenic AML drugs."
• Tsvee Lapidot, PhD, Professor of Immunology at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, is the Edith Arnoff Stein professorial chair in stem cell research. His research interests include the mechanisms of stem cell migration and immune development, the regulation of the bone marrow reservoir of immature and maturing luekocytes as part of host defense and repair during homeostasis and alarm situations and the role of stromal cells, cytokines, chemokines, adhesion molecules and proteolytic enzymes in normal and leukemic human hematopoiesis. Dr. Lapidot has an extensive background in AML.
This research is important to the Foundation because of the key role of elastase in the CFIDS/ME process. Since elastase plays a critical role in myeloid lineage development, Dr. Lapidot will be using several compounds to explore their mechanistic action applicable to both myelodysplasia and AML utilizing in-vitro assays as well as a functional pre-clinical mouse model.
Dr. Lapidot's research is titled "Involvement of elastase and SDF-1/CXCR4 axis in regulation of motility and development of human AML initiating cells."
* Reference: “Gene expression subtypes in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis,” by Kerr JR, Petty R, Burke B, Gough J, Fear D, Sinclair LI, Mattey DL, Richards SC, Montgomery J, Baldwin DA, Kellam P, Harrison TJ, Griffin GE, Main J, Enlander D, Nutt DJ, Holgate ST; Journal of Infectious Diseases, Apr 15, 2008;197(8):1171-84.
** “National CFIDS Foundation to Begin Leukemia Research,” Fall 2008 issue of the NCF’s Forum newsletter.