The new support agreement lasts throughout 2019 and aims to provide the research group with better continuity and more time to focus on their work.
“Conducting solid research is time-consuming, and it is crucial that we are able to work with a long-term perspective,” says Øystein Fluge, senior consultant at the Department of Oncology and Medical Physics at Haukeland University Hospital. He leads the research group for ME/CFS at the hospital, alongside professor Olav Mella.
“The long-term partnership we’ve had with the Kavli Trust since 2011 has afforded us the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues with extensive experience and knowledge in disciplines such as auto immune diseases, paediatrics, immunogenetics and energy metabolism. For example, we have a close and productive collaboration with Karl Johan Tronstad’s group at the Department of Biomedicine at the University of Bergen. Through the years, a medical community focusing on biomedical research into ME/CFS has grown forth in Norway,” says senior consultant Øystein Fluge.
Øystein Fluge. Photo: Kristin Risa/Haukeland University Hospital
In 2017, it became known that the national RituxME study could not prove that the antibody rituximab had any effect on ME/CFS patients. The study was led by the research group at Haukeland University Hospital, alongside the CFS/ME centre at Oslo University Hospital, Notodden Hospital HF Telemark, St. Olavs Hospital and the University Hospital of North Norway.
The research group at Haukeland University Hospital has also, with support from the Kavli Trust, implemented a smaller, open study using the chemotherapy drug cyclofosfamid. Detailed results from both these studies are expected in international journals later this autumn.
“Over the next couple of years, our research group plans to keep developing our unique biobank, and we plan to continue using the material and the clinical data collected through clinical studies for further research on disease mechanisms. We want to expand on the survey of biochemical parameters in patients,” says professor Olav Mella.
Olav Mella. Photo: Kristin Risa/Haukeland University Hospital
The interdisciplinary research network has also inspired new projects at the universities of Oslo and Bergen, who, with support from the Kavli Trust, were awarded funding from the Research Council of Norway in cooperation with patients, dependents and the medical community, when they in 2017 allocated funding for research on ME.
An important aim for the research group is to further develop treatment strategies based on the knowledge provided by research into mechanisms.
“In addition, we hope that increased knowledge into disease mechanisms will provide patients with greater recognition in the health care system, and lead to an increased understanding of the patient’s need for personalised treatment,” says professor Olav Mella.
“The Kavli Trust is pleased to continue supporting the ME/CFS research group at Haukeland University Hospital, providing NOK 4.72 million for 2018 and 2019. We hope that this support will contribute to new advances in the search for knowledge to aid the millions of patients and dependents affected by ME/CFS all over the world,” says Inger Elise Iversen, general manager at the Kavli Trust.
“The Kavli Trust is particularly excited to support fields of research that are under-financed, and where there are large gaps in the current knowledge. It is very encouraging to see increasing support for research into disease mechanisms and the causes of ME, and it is exciting to see that our contribution has triggered further funding. At the same time, we still see a need for more funding, and we want to contribute to meeting that need,” says Inger Elise Iversen at the Kavli Trust.
Top photo: The research group for ME/CFS at Haukeland University Hospital. Photo: Kristin Risa
Press and media enquiries:
Erik Vigander, Director Department of Communication
+47 901 33 771
Hanne Eide Andersen
Communications Manager, The Kavli Trust
+47 995 62 948
Read more about the Kavli Trust’s support for ME research here.