“…it confirms what people with these conditions have long known – that it is a ‘real’ illness – not a psychological issue” – Science Minister Leeanne Enoch.
Gold Coast researchers have made an world-first breakthrough in understanding the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Queensland’s Science Minister Leeanne Enoch said researchers from Griffith University’s National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases (NCNED) have found strong evidence that chronic fatigue syndrome was associated with a dysfunctional immune system.
“The research team, led by Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik and Professor Don Staines, have identified a dysfunctional cell receptor in the immune system which seems to be at the core of the problem,” Ms Enoch said.
“This discovery is great news for all people living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and the related Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), as it confirms what people with these conditions have long known – that it is a ‘real’ illness – not a psychological issue.
“CFS and ME are notoriously difficult to diagnose, with sufferers often going for years without getting the proper care and attention they need. Currently, there is no effective treatment.
“The Griffith University breakthrough now means we have a target for therapeutic intervention, which is welcome news to the 250,000 Australians believed to be affected by CFS and ME.”
According to ME/CFS Australia, the cost to the Australian community of CFS/ME diagnosis, treatment and management is estimated to reach more than $700 million annually.
Professor Marshall-Gradisnik said Queensland Government funding of around $1.6 million – the largest direct contribution of any government anywhere in the world to research this condition – had been critical in progressing the research.
“It clearly demonstrates what can be achieved with critical government funding.”
The NCNED also received a $4 million grant from the Stafford Fox Medical Research Foundation – the largest grant ever provided for CFS/ME research.
Professor Don Staines said this funding would be used to investigate the commercialisation of a diagnostic test the research team were developing as well as potential treatments.