The Whittemore Peterson Institute held an open house on March 6th for approximately 45 invited guests. In addition to allowing the Institute to thank its generous donors in person, the occasion served as a unique educational opportunity to highlight its medical research efforts.
During the educational portion of the evening, President and CEO Annette Whittemore talked about the origin of the Institute and the negative impacts of neuroimmune diseases on millions of people throughout the world. WPI board member Sam Shad led an informal interview, followed by a question and answer period, with Dr. Kenny De Meirleir, WPI Medical Director and Dr. Vincent Lombardi, University of Nevada, Reno, research scientist. The interview explored the importance of the Institute’s collaborative research program to the discovery of effective medical treatments.
Touring the WPI’s offices, clinic, and laboratory, on the third floor of the Center for Molecular Medicine, allowed for additional engagement and learning opportunities for attendees.
Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI) representatives joined with hundreds of ME/CFS community members including patients, many of whom risked their health to raise awareness of the critical need for greater levels of research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Currently, ME/CFS funding amounts to only $6.50 per person per year, despite the fact that millions remain chronically ill and disabled at a loss of billions of dollars in lost productivity each year. If research dollars were based on the severity of disease and the number of people impacted, the NIH would fund ME/CFS at levels that are 50 to 100 times greater, similar to those designated to MS and Lupus.
We are grateful to Nevada’s members of Congress including Congressman Mark Amodei, Senator Jacky Rosen, and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto; and their staff, who spent valuable time learning about ME/CFS and the many reasons why levels of research funding must be increased. Their support assures us that our voices were heard.
We know that, as research funding levels improve, so too do scientific and medical interest in a particular disease. Interest fosters breakthroughs. Breakthroughs result in treatment discovery and eventually a cure.
With our community’s help, WPI will continue to seek funding equality at the national level.
We are pleased to share a copy of Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak’s proclamation declaring May as ME/CFS Awareness Month. We are deeply grateful to our state leaders and our Governor for their outstanding commitment to those who are impacted by complex neuroimmune diseases.
WPI has continued to invest its resources into two key areas of concern: accelerating treatment discovery and enhancing relevant education for physicians. To address these critical issues, WPI has created a medical support program in Reno and developed educational materials that are delivered through traditional and online methods.
WPI’s medical program provides space, equipment, and salary support for Dr. Kenny De Meirleir, WPI’s Medical Director. Dr. De Meirleir is an independent practicing physician who is internationally recognized as an ME/CFS expert. He is expanding his impact within Nevada and around the world through his clinical research studies conducted in collaboration with University of Nevada research scientists. Collaborations such as these are critical to the successful discovery of mechanisms of disease and/or biomarkers.
Biomarkers are not only vital to understanding disease processes, they are also key to identifying specific diseases for the purpose of treatment. Dr. De Meirleir’s most recent publication, Evaluation of Four Clinical Laboratory Parameters for the Diagnosis of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, moves this important goal forward by identifying clinical tests that can aid in the diagnosis and treatment of ME/CFS.
Continuing education of medical doctors and patients in the diagnosis and treatment of neuroimmune diseases is another urgent need in this community. To address the significant lack of medical education overseas, Dr. De Meirleir created several European medical seminars based upon his extensive experience and knowledge. WPI has entered into discussions with the Bateman Horne Center of Utah about future collaborations in an effort to expand similar educational programs within the United States. We hope that by working together we can create greater progress for the benefit of the entire neuroimmune disease community.
We invite you to watch for exciting news updates as WPI moves forward!
I’m excited to share with you some of the Institute’s latest news! With the support of our donors and the State of Nevada, we continue to make critical progress in the diagnosis and treatment of ME/CFS, a complex and disabling disease process.
The Institute participated in a recently published retrospective study identifying specific biomarkers from hundreds of patient tests that were conducted as part of Dr. De Meirleir’s medical evaluations. These four blood tests, which were found to separate ME/CFS patients from controls with a high degree of specificity and sensitivity, are already available to the medical community.
“These findings emphasize the organic nature of this disease,” stated Dr. De Meirleir, study coauthor and Institute Medical Director.
Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) is a complex and debilitating disease that often initially presents with flu-like symptoms, accompanied by incapacitating fatigue. Currently, there are no objective biomarkers or laboratory tests that can be used to unequivocally diagnosis ME; therefore, a diagnosis is made when a patient meets a series of a costly and subjective inclusion and exclusion criteria. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the utility of four clinical parameters in diagnosing ME. The research team utilized logistic regression and classification and regression tree analysis to conduct a retrospective investigation of four clinical laboratory markers in 140 ME cases and 140 healthy controls. They found that certain parameters may help physicians in their diagnosis of ME and may additionally shed light on the pathophysiology of this disease.
“Evaluation of four clinical laboratory parameters for the diagnosis of myalgic encephalomyelitis” can be found online in the Journal of Translational Medicine at https://translational-medicine.biomedcentral.com/a…
Congratulations to Dr. Vincent Lombardi, for being chosen as one of the 2018 Ramsey Award recipients.
Read more at Solve ME\CFS Initiative
We are pleased to announce that Nevada Center for Biomedical Research (“NVCBR”) has achieved a critical milestone. The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents approved a new contract resulting in the integration of NVCBR’s basic research program and its associated research assets into the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine’s expert research community. This major move will provide greater visibility for ME/CFS research as it becomes an integral part of the University’s research efforts.
All other key activities including patient outreach, community education, and advocacy will continue through our organization. We will remain in our current office area on the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine campus within the medical office building of the Center for Molecular Medicine (“CMM”). We will continue to provide grant support in the form of equipment and office space at this location so that private medical practices can continue to serve patients impacted by ME/CFS and similar diseases.
Given that our organization will no longer be responsible for the basic research program, we have chosen to return to our original name, Whittemore Peterson Institute, a name honoring an impacted family member and the doctor who diagnosed and treated her for many years. Watch for more announcements about a special project coming to the institute.