NIH Signals New Interest in CFIDS Research
Attracting new researchers to the study of
chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS, also known as chronic
fatigue syndrome or CFS) is a high priority for the Association and its members and donors.
Recognizing that a specialized research announcement called a “Request for
Applications” issued by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a key
strategy to achieve this goal, the Association has vigorously campaigned with
top NIH officials for the release of an RFA with set aside funds.
At an NIH-sponsored workshop on neuroimmune mechanisms in June
2003, NIH Deputy Director Dr. Vivian Pinn announced the NIH’s intention to issue
an RFA for CFS. For the next two years, the Association called for NIH to make
good on its commitment. Advocates who participated in the Association’s May 12,
2005 Lobby Day informed lawmakers about the extended delay and its effect on the
decline in CFS research. In response, several members of Congress voiced their
concerns directly to NIH.
On July 14, 2005, the NIH issued a
for Applications (RFA) titled “Neuroimmune
Mechanisms and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” The announcement states that
approximately $4,000,000 has been designated for successful applications and
indicates that 6 to 10 new studies will be funded. We are pleased with this
announcement and extend thanks to everyone who helped secure this important
research initiative and the set-aside funds attached to it.
Priorities for the RFA follow recommendations developed during
the June 2003 workshop, “Neuroimmune Mechanisms and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:
Will Understanding Central Mechanisms Enhance the Search for Causes,
Consequences, and Treatment of CFS?” The priorities identified in the RFA are
those projects that:
Examine mediators influencing communication among the
interacting parts of the nervous and immune systems, as well as those that
postulate central control mechanisms for these interactions;
Use new tools to explore different aspects of the disease
Elucidate the developmental aspects of this disease; and
Develop predictive biomarkers.
The Association is working to broadly distribute this news,
focusing particular attention on the scientific community in an effort to
stimulate new interest in CFS research by senior investigators and young
scientists working in a wide range of disciplines and institutions. We encourage
others to share this announcement on research-related listservs and websites to
stimulate the largest number of quality applications by the August 19, 2005
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