NIAID to Continue WPI’s $1.5M ME/CFS Research Grant

On February 7, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) announced it will continue the 5-year, $1.5 million grant it awarded to support chronic fatigue syndrome research at the Whittemore Peterson Institute (beginning in September 2009 and set to run through August 2014).

The grant initially named Judy Mikovits, PhD, as principal investigator, but Dr. Mikovits, then WPI’s Director of Research, is no longer a WPI employee. Accordingly, on December 15, 2011, NIAID investigators paid a visit to Whittemore Peterson to assess the qualifications of WPI’s Interim Director of Research Vincent Lombardi, PhD, to take over as principal investigator.

Their verdict, according to a report by ScienceInsider news, is that Dr. Lombardi has the “technical expertise and experience directly applicable to the studies in Aim 2 of the grant.”

As stated in the Health & Human Services description of the project (New Strategies to Decipher the Pathophysiology of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), Aim 2 involves research to “elucidate genetic factors of susceptibility and the dysregulation of the host defense system” in ME/CFS.

Aim 1 was to “identify and confirm novel viral infections in European and American CFS patient cohorts.”

Overall, the goal of the project as laid out in the description was to “define these viral and host parameters in European and American cohorts of CFS patients that correlate with distinct disease phenotypes, including the development of mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) in a subgroup of the American cohort.”

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