Sept. 27 (UPI) -- The National Institutes of Health announced it will establish a consortium of Collaborative Research Centers to study myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome.
ME/CFS affects more than 1 million Americans and includes symptoms of profound fatigue, problems with thinking and memory, pain and post-exertional malaise, or a worsening of symptoms after mental or physical activity. The affects of ME/CFS can significantly negatively impact a person's quality of life.
There is no known cause or proven treatments for ME/CFS.
NIH will award four grants to establish the coordinated scientific research effort with a total cost of more than $7 million for 2017 with support from multiple NIH centers that are part of the Trans-NIH ME/CFS Working Group.
"These important grants will provide a strong foundation for expanding research in ME/CFS, and lead to knowledge about the causes and ways to treat people affected by this mysterious, heartbreaking, and debilitating disease," Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the NIH, said in a press release.
The grants will go toward the creation of a consortium of three Collaborative Research Centers, or CRC, and a Data Management Coordinating Center, or DMCC. The CRCs will do independent research and will also collaborate on numerous projects.
The DMCC will manage the data and share it among researchers within the CRCs and the broader research community.
"These grants will use innovative technologies and research methods to unravel this devastating disease, which we know so little about," said Dr. Walter Koroshetz, director of NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and chair of the Trans-NIH ME/CFS Working Group.
"The researchers will be encouraged to work with the ME/CFS community to help move the field forward. Individuals with ME/CFS provide a unique perspective on the disease, and their experiences with ME/CFS will help advance research and move us closer to a cure."