Johadamis ME/CFS Research Grant 2023

December 28, 2023

We are happy to announce the recipients of the 2023 Johadamis ME/CFS € 100.000 Research Grant for the project "UNRAVELING ME/CFS":

The Role of Hidden Viral Infections in Peripheral Blood and Gut-Specific Lymphatic Tissue in the Pathogenesis of ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) a Controlled, Cross-Sectional Study.

In many patients, the acute onset of ME/CFS can be traced back to a viral infection. However, current scientific knowledge about the role of hidden or past viral infections in ME/CFS is insufficient to understand the disease's pathogenesis, identify objective diagnostic biomarkers, or develop targeted therapies. Particularly underrepresented in ME/CFS studies so far is the gut-specific lymphatic tissue of the small intestine, which is the largest lymphatic organ of the human body and a potential reservoir for pathogens. 

Therefore, the aim of the controlled cross-sectional study UNRAVELING ME/CFS is to better understand the role of hidden or past viral infections in the gut-specific lymphatic tissue in the pathogenesis of ME/CFS. 

The project, led by Dr. Max Augustin and Univ.-Prof. Dr. Alexander Zoufaly, involves collaboration with neurologist Dr. Michael Stingl and the 4th Medical Department of the Klinik Favoriten (headed by Univ.-Doz. Christoph Wenisch) as well as the Sigmund Freud Private University, to establish a biobank of professionally processed biomaterials (blood, intestinal mucosa biopsies) from ME/CFS patients and healthy control persons.

As part of this large international cooperation project, biomaterials and clinical data will be shared with Assoc. Prof. Iwijn de Vlaminck and Prof. Maureen Hanson of Cornell University. There, the latest and most sophisticated high-end laboratory techniques, including spatial transcriptomics and deep RNA sequencing, allow a detailed examination of the role of past or hidden viral infections of the gut-specific lymphatic tissue in the pathogenesis of ME/CFS.

The existing close collaboration between Klinik Favoriten, SFU, and Cornell University (USA) is strengthened by the UNRAVELING ME/CFS study, funded by the WE&ME Foundation.