Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Research

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered am ar 8 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Llafur

To ask His Majesty's Government what progress they have made on the funding of biomedical research into myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) since the then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health and Social Care stated on 24 January 2019 that “there have not been good enough research proposals in the ME space, partly because of the stigma … and partly because of the division in the medical community”.

Photo of Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Llafur

To ask His Majesty's Government how much research funding the National Institute for Health and Care Research and the Medical Research Council have invested in biomedical studies of the causes and treatment of myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and non-biomedical studies of ME since 2019.

Photo of Lord Markham Lord Markham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). Since 2019, the NIHR has awarded £1.9 million for research into myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome. The Medical Research Council (MRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), has invested £3.6 million since 2019.

This funding includes the NIHR and UKRI co-funded DecodeME study, a £3.2 million study into the genetic underpinning of ME. The study will analyse samples from 25,000 people with ME, to search for genetic differences that may indicate underlying causes or an increased risk of developing the condition. This study aims to increase our understanding of the disease, and therefore contribute to the research base on diagnostic tests and targeted treatments for ME.

In 2020, the NIHR, the Chief Scientist Office in Scotland, and the MRC also funded the James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership for ME, facilitated by the charity Action for ME. The report sets out the top 10 research priorities for ME. These recommendations have been co-produced through a process led by a steering group of people living with ME, carers, and clinicians.

In the interim delivery plan on ME, the Department recognised that there has been a relatively low amount of biomedical research funded on ME, compared with disease burden. The NIHR and MRC welcome applications for further biomedical research into ME. These applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money, and scientific quality. In all disease areas, the amount of funding depends on the volume and quality of scientific activity.

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