The Chronic Fatigue Initiative (CFI), a privately funded 501(c)3, has enlisted leading CFS/ME researchers to participate in a new collaboration. This is the first time the "venture funding" model, which uses private money to fund research on "overlooked" diseases and has been successful with cystic fibrosis and multiple myeloma, has been applied specifically to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. According to Scott Carlson, Executive Director of the CFI, the Hutchins Family Foundation is providing "over $10 million" to fund projects through 2014, with the possibility of more depending on the findings.
The Chronic Fatigue Initiative has planned research projects in several areas, beginning with building a "bio-bank" containing biologic samples from a "well-characterized" cohort of 200 CFS patients and 200 healthy controls, collected by leading clinicians from around the country. Dr. Nancy Klimas is in charge of cohort recruitment. These samples can then be used for study by researchers around the country.
Creation of the bio-bank and a database to link information about the patients to the samples will be followed by research to discover and study possible pathogens involved in the illness.
An Epidemiology Project will utilize epidemiologic data from the Harvard School of Public Health to study possible environmental as well as biological risk factors for CFS.
A "Mechanism of Illness" program will work with a scientific advisory board of leading researchers and clinicians to formulate hypotheses and fund new grants for research to test these hypotheses.
Participating institutions include the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University, Harvard School of Public Health, Stanford Medical School, Harvard Medical School, Duke University, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, University of Miami and University of Utah. Lead researchers include such familiar names as Drs. Nancy Klimas, Lucinda Bateman, Dan Peterson, Jose Montoya and Ian Lipkin.