The 6th Invest in ME

International ME/CFS Conference 2011

The Way Forward for ME - A Case for Clinical Trials


Conference Agenda

Details of lectures (note these may change).







Invest in ME

Welcome to the Conference


Mrs. Annette Whittemore

Key Note Speech: Translating ME/CFS Research into Treatments


Dr. David Bell

25 Year Follow-up of ME Patients


Dr. Andreas Kogelnik

Translational Research in ME/CFS


Refreshment Break


Dr John Chia

Clinical & Research Experience of Enteroviral Involvement in ME/CFS


Professor Geoffrey Burnstock

Purinergic signalling and CNS disorders


Dr James Baraniuk

Cerebrospinal Biomarkers for ME/CFS




Professor Tom Wileman Professor Simon Carding

UK Research: Genome Sequencing, Virology & Immunology for ME/CFS 


Dr Øystein Fluge /  Professor Olav Mella

B-cell Depletion Therapy Using Rituximab in ME/CFS


Professor Kenny de Meirleir

Clinical Diagnosis, Treatments and Trials of ME/CFS


Refreshment Break


Dr. Judy Mikovits MD

Clinical Implications of XMRV Research for ME/CFS


Dr. Wilfried Bieger

XMRV Results from Germany


Plenary with BMJ and Professor Malcolm Hooper

Plenary Session - with speakers




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Conference Speakers


Key Note Speech: Translating ME/CFS Research into Treatments

Annette Whittemore

Founder and President of the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuroimmune Diseases, Reno, Nevada, USA.  The Institute is located on the medical campus of the University of Nevada. Its mission is to serve those with complex neuro-immune diseases such as ME/CFS, viral induced central nervous system dysfunction and fibromyalgia. Annette Whittemore graduated in Elementary and Special Education at the University of Nevada and taught children with neuro-cognitive deficits, such as those found in autism, ADD, and learning disabilities. As the president and director of the current operations at the Institute Annette supports the basic and clinical research program, and actively recruits physicians and other support personnel for the Institute.

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A 25 Year Follow-up of ME Patients
Dr. David Bell graduated from Harvard College and gained an MD degree at Boston University. Post doctoral training in paediatrics was completed with subspecialty training in Paediatric Behaviour and Developmental Disorders. In 1978 he began work at the University of Rochester and then began a private practice in the town of Lyndonville, New York. In 1985 nearly 220 persons became ill with an illness subsequently called chronic fatigue syndrome in the communities surrounding Lyndonville, New York. This illness cluster began a study of the illness which continues today.
Dr. David Bell is the author or co-author of numerous scientific papers on CFS, and, in 2003 was named Chairman of the Advisory Committee for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome of the Department of Health and Human Services. Publications include A Disease of A Thousand Names, (1988) and The Doctor's Guide to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, (1990). Dr. Bell is currently performing ME/CFS research into the XMRV retrovirus.
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Clinical & Research Experience of Enteroviral Involvement in ME/CFS

Dr John Chia is an infectious disease specialist, Torrance, California, USA. He has published research ("Chronic fatigue syndrome associated with chronic enterovirus infection of the stomach") on the role of enteroviruses in the aetiology of ME/CFS - an area which has been implicated as one of the causes by a number of studies. There are more than 70 different types of enteroviruses that can affect the central nervous system, heart and muscles, all of which is consistent with the symptoms of ME/CFS. By analyzing samples of stomach tissue from 165 patients with CFS, Dr. Chia's team discovered that 82% of these individuals had high levels of enteroviruses in their digestive systems. Dr Chia's research may result in the development of antiviral drugs to treat the debilitating symptoms of ME/CFS.
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Clinical Diagnosis, Treatments and Trials of ME/CFS

Professor De Meirleir is a world renowned researcher of ME/CFS. He is full professor of physiology, pathophysiology and medicine at the Virje Universitet Brussel and practices Internal Medicine at Himmunitas Foundation also in Brussels. He has published several hundred peer reviewed articles and is co-author of the book 'Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: a biological approach' and was co-editor of the Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and reviewer for more than 10 other medical journals.

Professor De Meirleir was one of four international experts on the panel that developed the Canadian Consensus Document for ME/CFS. He assesses/treats thousands of ME/CFS patients annually and is the most experienced researcher in Europe regarding ME/CFS. His research activities in ME/CFS date back to 1990. His other research activities in exercise physiology, metabolism and endocrinology have led to the Solvay Prize and the NATO research award.

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  Dr Øystein Fluge

B-cell Depletion Therapy Using Rituximab in ME/CFS

Professor Olav Mella / Dr Øystein Fluge  
Institute of Medicine, Section of Oncology, University of Bergen, Norway
Department of Oncology and Medical Physics, Haukeland University Hospital,  Bergen, Norway

Øystein Fluge received medical degree in 1988 at the University of Bergen, and is a specialist in oncology since 2004. He has worked as a Research Fellow with support from the Norwegian Cancer Society and is now chief physician at the Cancer Department, Haukeland University Hospital. Doctoral work emanates from the Surgical Institute and Department of Molecular Biology, University of Bergen.

See also
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UK Research: Genome Sequencing, Virology & Immunology for ME/CFS

Professor Tom Wileman

Professor Wileman is Professor of Molecular Virology and Director at the Biomedical Research Centre at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK. His previous positions in the UK have included the Head of the Department of Immunology and Pathology at the BBSRC Institute of Animal Health, Pirbright.

He was Assistant Professor at the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA where worked at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Beth Israel Hospital.  He held investigator awards from the Claudia Adam's Barr Foundation for Cancer Research, the Medical Foundation of the Charles King Trust and was Basil O'Connor Scholar of the March of Dimes Research Foundation.  Prior to that he was SERC NATO Fellow and Fellow of the Parker Francis Pulmonary Research Foundation within the Department of Cell Biology, Washington University Medical School, St Louis.

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Professor Simon Carding

UK Research: Genome Sequencing, Virology & Immunology for ME/CFS   

Professor Simon Carding

Professor Simon Carding Professor of Mucosal Immunology at University of East Anglia and Institute of Food Research. Following his PhD at London he held postdoctoral positions at New York University School of Medicine, New York and at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, USA. He then moved to the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA as Assistant and later Associate Professor. He joined University of Leeds as Professor of Molecular Immunology in the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology in 1999. His scientific interests are in understanding how the immune response in the gut functions and in particular, is able to distinguish between the commensal microbes that reside in the gut and environmental microbes that cause disease, and in the mechanisms by which the body’s immune system no longer ignores or tolerates commensal gut bacteria and how this leads to immune system activation and inflammatory bowel disease.

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Translational Research in ME/CFS
Dr. Andreas Kogelnik

Dr. Andreas M. Kogelnik, is the Founding Director of the Open Medicine Institute, a collaborative, community-based translational research institute dedicated to personalized medicine with a human touch while using the latest advances in medicine, informatics, genomics, and biotechnology.

The Institute works closely with the Open Medicine Clinic and other clinics to conduct research and apply new knowledge back into clinical practice.

Dr. Kogelnik received his M.D. from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and his Ph.D. in bioengineering/bioinformatics from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Subsequently, he completed is residency in Internal Medicine and a Fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Stanford University and its affiliated hospitals.

Following his clinical training, he remained at Stanford with NIH funding to engage in post-doctoral research in microbiology, immunology and bioinformatics with Dr. Ellen Jo Baron and Dr. Stanley Falkow, where he explored host-response profiles in severely ill patients.

Together with Dr. José Montoya, he was instrumental in the conception, design, and execution of the EVOLVE study - a placebo-controlled, double-blind study of a subset of chronic fatigue syndrome patients with evidence of viral infection.

Dr. Kogelnik worked with Dr. Atul Butte in translational informatics to determine patterns that indicated a high risk for adverse events in paediatric patients at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital.

He is the Medical Director of the Open Medicine Clinic - a community-based research clinic focussed on chronic infectious diseases, neuroimmune disease, and immunology.  Dr. Kogelnik has published numerous scientific papers and book chapters, is an Editor of Computers in Medicine and Biology, and is a Consulting Assistant Professor at Stanford University. 

With the Open Medicine Institute, he has led the formation of CFS and Lyme Registries and Biobanks as well as creating an infrastructure for providers to collect better data and implement clinical trials across a network of sites.

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Clinical Implications of XMRV Research for ME/CFS Dr Judy Mikovits Judy Mikovits is Research Director at the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Diseases and has co-authored over 40 peer reviewed publications that address fundamental issues of viral pathogenesis, hematopoiesis and cytokine biology. Formally trained as a cell biologist, molecular biologist and virologist, Dr. Mikovits has studied the immune response to retroviruses and herpes viruses including HIV, SIV, HTLVI, HERV, HHV6 and HHV8 with a special emphasis on virus host cell interactions in cells of the hematopoietic system including hematopoietic stem cells (HSC).

Dr Mikovits is one of the authors of the ground-breaking study published in Science magazine in October 2009 which detected XMRV in CFS patients (Detection of an infectious retrovirus, XMRV, in blood cells of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome) and is a member of the US Department of Health and Human Services Blood Working Group.

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Purinergic signalling and CNS disorders

Professor Geoffrey Burnstock
Professor Geoffrey Burnstock studied theology, maths and physics at King’s College London, before completing a PhD at King’s and University College London under the supervision of the neurophysiologist, JZ Young. Between 1959 and 1975, Professor Burnstock worked at the University of Melbourne, beginning with a senior lectureship in zoology. Most of his major research has been on the autonomic nervous system, notably autonomic neurotransmission and he is best known for his discovery that ATP is a transmitter in NANC (non-adrenergic, non-cholinergic) nerves and also for the discovery and definition of P2 purinergic receptors, their signaling pathways and functional relevance.

Professor Burnstock’s work in this area has had an impact on the understanding of pain mechanisms, incontinence, embryological development, bone formation and resorption, and on skin, prostate and bladder cancer. Professor Burnstock returned to London in 1975, becoming Head of Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology at University College London and Convenor of the Centre of Neuroscience. He has served as editor-in-chief of the journals Autonomic Neuroscience and Purinergic Signalling and has been on the editorial boards of many other journals. He has been elected to the Australian Academy of Science, the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Sciences, and was awarded the Royal Society Gold Medal in2000. He was President of the International Society for Autonomic Neuroscience (ISAN), and was first in the Institute of Scientific Information list of most cited scientists in Pharmacology and Toxicology..
(from The UCL Centre for the History of MEdicine)

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Cerebrospinal Markers in ME/CFS

Professor James Baraniuk
James N. Baraniuk was born in Alberta, Canada. He earned his honours degree in chemistry and microbiology, medical degree, and unique bachelor's degree in medicine (cardiology) at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. Thereafter, he moved to Akron, OH, USA, for his internship and internal medicine residency at St Thomas Hospital. After another year of internal medicine residency at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, he trained with Dr C.E. Buckley, III, in allergy and clinical immunology. He moved to the laboratory of Dr Michael Kaliner at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, MD, and there began his long-standing collaboration with Dr Kimihiro Ohkubo. After 2 years studying neuropeptides, he joined Dr Peter Barnes' laboratory at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Brompton Hospital, London, UK. Dr Baraniuk returned to Washington, DC, and Georgetown University, where he is currently Associate Professor with Tenure in the Department of Medicine.
(from Georgetown University site


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XMRV in Germany
Dr. Wilfried Beiger is a docent of Medicine in private practice in Munich, performing a study in co- operation with a researcher from Heidelberg University to test German ME patients for XMRV.  The results of this study will be presented at the Invest in ME conference.
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Conference Chair
Professor Malcolm Hooper
Chair of the 6th Invest in ME International ME/CFS Conference 2010 will be Professor Malcolm Hooper, Emeritus Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Sunderland.

Professor Hooper is an internationally-renowned expert on ME/CFS and a tireless campaigner for patients' rights.

Professor Hooper has previously chaired Invest in ME conferences and participates in The Hooper Interviews - interviews with conference speakers at the Invest in ME Conferences (see here). 


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Last Updated: 06/11/2010


Last Updated: 01/06/2011