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National CFIDS Foundation Announces Its Latest
Research Grant Recipients

By Alan Cocchetto, NCF Medical Director ©2006  

The National CFIDS Foundation is pleased to announce the latest grant recipients from its Research Grant Program. This grant program has been very active since its inception in 2002 with funding coming exclusively from generous donations by the CFS/ME patient community. These newest NCF research grants total $186,000. With its latest round of funding, the NCF's research grant recipients include Konstance Knox, Ph.D. and  Donald Carrigan, Ph.D., Yoshitsugi Hokama, Ph.D., and Derek Enlander, M.D.       

Dr. Konstance Knox and Dr. Donald Carrigan are virologists with the Institute for Viral Pathogenesis in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They are recipients of a $159,000 NCF research grant titled “The Potential Role of New Infectious Agents in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” At the Institute for Viral Pathogenesis, Dr. Knox and Dr. Carrigan are actively involved with the identification and characterization of new human viral pathogens. Exploring newly identified viruses as emerging pathogens and developing effective treatments for such viruses and the diseases they cause is their primary focus.     

Dr. Knox and Dr. Carrigan were past recipients of a $35,000 NCF research grant for the evaluation of the Stat1 protein in CFS/ME patients. The results of this study were presented at the Seventh International AACFS Conference on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Madison, Wisconsin. In addition, Dr. Knox and Dr. Carrigan have assisted the NCF with previous projects that included research into the roles of HHV-6A/B and HTLV-II in CFS/ME. The NCF's HTLV-II research built upon the previous research efforts of Dr. Elaine DeFreitas from the Wistar Institute. Gail Kansky commented “Drs. Knox and Carrigan are highly respected medical scientists. Their extensive work and effort into HHV-6 and its role in AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, and CFIDS/ME is well known. We are extremely pleased to be able to provide them with the largest NCF grant amount ever offered to a research team. We are very excited by the scientific direction provided by this grant!”     

Dr. Yoshitsugi Hokama is the recipient of a $25,000 NCF grant titled “Verification of the Site 5 Sodium Channel Effect of the Abnormal Lipid Found in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patient Sera.” Dr. Hokama is a Professor in the Department of Pathology at the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is a world expert in the area of fish toxins with hundreds of peer reviewed publications to his credit. Dr. Hokama developed the Membrane Immunobead Assay test for patient sera, using a specific monoclonal antibody for ciguatera toxin (Mab-CTX).     

Dr. Hokama has been the recipient of three other NCF research grants into the role of the ciguatera epitope in CFIDS/ME. His other NCF grants totaled $100,000. Dr. Hokama and his team previously received a $1 million dollar grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for his research into ciguatera and its association with CFIDS/ME. The basis for this NIH application was the research completed for the NCF on this epitope. The ciguatera epitope has been found in over 95% of the patient sera. “Dr. Hokama's expertise and insight has proven to be invaluable. Dr. Hokama has agreed to supply his monoclonal antibody for ciguatoxin to Dr. Knox and Dr. Carrigan and to collaborate with them for their evaluation in their virology research. The NCF firmly believes that the toxicology and virology will overlap. As such, this is an exciting time for the NCF to be directly involved in this research effort!” stated Kansky.     

Dr. Derek Enlander is the recipient of a $2000 NCF research grant for his collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Kerr on a “RNA Gene Expression Study” for CFIDS/ME patients. Dr. Enlander is a private physician in New York while Dr. Kerr is a medical researcher with St. George's Hospital in London.     

During a recent interview, Gail Kansky explained “The research direction that the NCF has taken is a cohesive one. It is not a disjointed approach. We are exploiting the interconnectivity of the science and we're getting encouraging results. Let's face it, it's difficult to treat a disease whose cause has yet to be appropriately identified. Our approach has always taken direct aim at identification of the underlying cause of this disease and we believe that we're on a direct collision course at this point in time. The results of this latest research should prove to be very revealing and will bring us one step closer to appropriate therapies - specifically those directed at the infectious agent. This is what scientific truths will bring- true hope and true help for patients worldwide!”     

All of the NCF's donations go directly to research via its Research Grant Program. Since 2002, over $325,000 has been directed to fund research concepts that have originated from the NCF. Unlike other CFIDS/ME groups, the NCF orchestrates it own research program by funding researchers who are willing to undertake and execute the conceptual ideas formulated and directed by the foundation. This is carefully selected medical research. Several researchers have commented that what we are funding is in-fact “theoretical medicine.” This may be true! The NCF has chosen a unique path and approach and we are fortunate to be achieving significant medical research results. We will continue on this path.....the road less traveled! Please consider to “help us help you” by donating to the NCF's research grant program.

The National CFIDS Foundation * 103 Aletha Rd, Needham Ma 02492 * (781) 449-3535 Fax (781) 449-8606