Large grant awarded to Griffith CFS researcher

Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik

Providing increased services for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers will be the focus of Griffith research following the award of a $1.85m grant to one of Australia’s foremost authorities on the condition.

Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik from the National Centre For Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases (NCNED) at Griffith University was awarded the research grant from the Stafford Fox Medical Research Foundation as part of her team’s bid to accelerate the diagnosis and implementation of appropriate treatment.

Otherwise known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), CFS is a highly debilitating disorder characterised by profound fatigue, muscle and joint pain, cerebral symptoms of impaired memory and concentration, impaired cardiovascular function, gut disorder and sensory dysfunction such as noise intolerance and balance disturbance.

Many cases can continue for months or years. It is believed to affect around 460,000 Australians.

In July this year, the NCNED launched a new CFS/ME specialised clinic and smartphone app, both aimed to help patients manage their illness and improve health outcomes.

The clinic is now working in conjunction with patients’ existing GPs to provide individualised care to patients. “I am overwhelmed to receive such as large grant,” says Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik. “This acknowledges the immense research and clinical capabilities at Griffith of our CFS clinicians which is done in collaboration with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the US.

Further enhanced assessment

“The grant will go a long way to providing further enhanced immunological, genetic and neurological assessment of our patients.” “Knowledge generated by these studies will be of great assistance in the management of patients with CFS and will also help CFS patients understand the biological basis of their disease,” says Pro Vice Chancellor (Health) Professor Allan Cripps, a co-investigator on the research team.

Other co-investigators on the team include Professor Donald Staines, Dr Ekua Brenu, Dr Leighton Branden and Dr Sandra Ramos.