Griffith centres on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik and her team

People living with chronic fatigue are set to benefit with the opening today (Dec 2), ofthe National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases (NCNED) atGriffith University.

The Centre will be opened as part of an international symposium on Chronic FatigueSyndrome (CFS) at the university’s Griffith Health Centre on its Gold Coast campus.

Otherwise known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is ahighly debilitating disorder characterised by profound fatigue, muscle and joint pain,cerebral symptoms of impaired memory and concentration, impaired cardiovascularfunction, gut disorder and sensory dysfunction such as noise intolerance and balancedisturbance. Many cases can continue for months or years. It is believed to affect around250,000 Australians.

One of Australia’s foremost authorities

The new centre is dedicated to research on the interaction between the nervous systemand the immune system and is led by one of Australia’s foremost authorities on CFS/ME
Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik.

“The NCNED heralds a higher level in Griffith’s capacity for state-of-the-art neuroimmunologicalresearch in the context of nervous system disorders,” she says. “Thesedisorders are a major cause of neurological disability in Australia.”

She says she is overwhelmed by the support the community has shown towards theresearch so far. “Our patients have shown enormous courage in the trajectory of theirillness and have contributed greatly to our research through their participation in scientificstudies.”

Developments at the Centre are expected to be extended in February 2014 with theopening of a specialised CFS Clinic. The integrated facility will provide treatment toanybody living with the condition and will build on the research being conducted withparticipants which has shown a strong association between the condition and adysfunctional immune system.

“We now have the capacity, not only for advanced research but also the potential toprovide a clinical service to people who have been unable to find appropriate care in the
past,” says Professor Marshall-Gradisnik. “Our research is leading the way internationallyto uncover the causes of this illness and the search for effective treatments based on our
unique immunological discoveries.”

Gold Coast Health Board Chair Mr Ian Langdon said he was pleased to enhancethe research capacity at NCNED by a contribution to the purchase of new flow cytometryequipment,one of only two currently in Australia to ensure this research centre remains at the forefront of this area.

“It is important that the NCNED receives support to purchase such technology frompartners like Gold Coast Health as it will benefit local community members in away previously unavailable to them.”