The fourth meeting of the EUROMENE Cost Action was held in Barcelona (Spain) at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital (16 – 17 March 2017). On Thursday, March 16, 2017, the meeting had a welcome by Local Director of Promotional Clinical Research (Xavier Cañas), General Director of Planning and Evaluation, Catolonia Generality (Maria J. Pueyo),
Local Chair (Jesus Castro), Local Vice-Chair (Julià Blanco) and COST Chair (Modra Murovska). The WGs discussed on different objectives:
- promote multidisciplinary strategies in ME/CFS research and foster a full chain of translational research;
- explore the potential of existing cohorts through workshop and seminar programmes as sources of potential cases of ME/CFS and the advancement of the epidemiological understanding of the disease;
- coordinate usage of innovative high-throughput technologies (genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomics strategies) for new biomarker recognition;
- facilitate the development of adequate local systems for case finding, data collection and storage via best practice exchange;
- survey European countries existing data on economic loss due to ME/CFS;
- Increase capacity by organizing training panel “Novel methods in potential infection-associated biomarkers research for ME/CFS” and following training school on-omics and bioinformatics in ME/CFS research. Organize STSMs, accomplish them and monitor results;
- manage research project preparation. Establish communication links with small/medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Each WGs examined their activities and planning.
WG1 on Epidemiology slideshows presented by Dr Andrejs Ivanovs (LV) and Dr Fernando Estevez (ES).
WG2 Biomarker presentation on an update on the European biomarker landscape project was given and the map presented. Special interest groups were established for chronic persistent infections (chaired by Bhupesh Prusty), genetic markers (chaired by Enrica Capelli) and autoimmune markers (chaired by Carmen Scheibenbogen).
WG3 Socioeconomic presentation was done by Prof Derek (UK). WG4 Clinical and Research Case Criteria was given by Dr Elin (NO) with a brief summary of results from the survey among the EUROMENE on national guidelines, case definitions, clinical enablers as well as important topics to be ruled out on the current meeting were presented. Prof Leonard Jason (DePaul University, Chicago, USA) was invited for a Skype talk and to discuss about case definitions, assessments tools of symptoms in ME/CFS and the current situation of prevalence and diagnostic criteria of ME/CFS in USA and Europe. Jose Alegre (ES) (WG4 member) presented clinical features and patient-reported outcome measures used in the Spanish CFS/ME cohort from the CFS/ME Clinical Unit at the Vall d`Hebron Hospital in Barcelona.
A presentation of Spanish ME/CFS Patients' Association Conference was made by president of the association. WG5 Conferences, Seminars and Training Schools presented by Dr Shikova-Lekova (BG) regarding the organization of the training school on –omics technology and bioinformatics in ME/CFS to hold in Pavia (Italy) on July 17-22, 2017 and the following meetings in Belgrade (Serbia) on September 7, 2017 and in Sofia (Bulgaria) on February 8, 2018.
WG6 on Dissemination and exploitation and patient involvement and digitalization was presented by Dr Lorenzo Lorusso (IT) and Dr Anne M. Mengshoel (NO) which done a presentation on activities and realization of the final EUROMENE website. WG7 on STSMs that Dr Els Tobback (BE) as coordinator presented. On Friday, March 17, 2017, Modra Murovska (LV) summarized the Core Group Meeting held Thursday morning.
A workshop on Biomarkers was chaired by Julia Blanco (ES) and Jesus Castro (ES) with presentations of: Dr Ricard Pujol (ES), Dr Eva Martinez (ES), Carmen Scheibenbogen (GE), Helma Freitag (GE), Elisa Oltra (ES) and Enrica Capelli (IT). The meeting was closed with a remark and future directions presented by each EUROMENE Work Group leaders.