Established in October 2020, Open Medicine Foundation Australia (OMF Australia) is an Australian foundation set up to support biomedical research through the establishment of a new ME/CFS collaborative research centre in Australia. OMF Australia was founded by Emerge Australia in partnership with the Open Medicine Foundation, meaning that Australia is now part of the largest, concerted worldwide non-profit effort to diagnose, treat and find a cure for ME/CFS.

The Australian centre is directed by Christopher Armstrong, PhD, and seeks to develop a disease management and treatment approach that focuses on the individual patient and the biology that underlies their disease. The research will look for unifying biological pathways of ME/CFS that cause the disease experience to be the same between patients, while also identifying biological aspects that produce different disease experiences between patients.

"I am thrilled that OMF has decided to expand its global ME/CFS research network to Australia,” Dr Armstrong said. “This will be the fifth Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) of this network and I am absolutely honoured to be the director.

"Over the past couple years I have been working with the other CRC directors, observing the great research at Stanford, Harvard, Uppsala and Montreal and I'm excited to bring the excellent Australian research community to the fold."

“It was clear to us at Emerge Australia that there has been a real need to find a way for people with ME/CFS, and for the wider community, to be able to donate to high quality biomedical research into ME/CFS here in Australia,” explained Emerge Australia CEO Dr Heidi Nicholl.

“Partnering with Open Medicine Foundation to establish OMF Australia made sense to us in a lot of ways. They have already established research centres around the world and we love the whole ethos of scientists openly sharing their results with one another.

"Developing a diagnostic test and finding effective treatments will hopefully come

along the way, but they want a cure. And we want that too."

“We also love that they are completely explicit about being in this to find a cure. Developing a diagnostic test and finding effective treatments will hopefully come along the way, but they want a cure. And we want that too.

“They have all their systems worked out already including a scientific advisory board that includes two Nobel laureates. The other thing was connecting Australia into this international network. It helps for everybody to raise the profile of home-grown researchers. Finally they’re just incredibly kind and easy to work with. We love OMF and they made this process so easy for us.”

Dr Chris Armstrong

Chris Armstrong, PhD, is OMF’s former Science Liaison and Visiting Scholar at Stanford University and has been involved with researching ME/CFS for more than a decade. An Australian native, he is perfectly positioned to lead and grow this new research hub for years to come.

Dr Armstrong is most well-known for his research using metabolomics to observe biochemical alterations in ME/CFS patients. He began his work in this field at the University of Melbourne, completing his PhD in applying metabolomics to study ME/CFS. He published his first ME/CFS metabolomics study on blood and urine in 2015.

Since then he has set up collaborative efforts to apply metabolomics to immunological experiments on ME/CFS, observing how metabolism may relate to immune cell function. He has also focused on longitudinal research while looking to extend metabolic capabilities across the field of ME/CFS to help collate different patient groups.

Under Dr Armstrong’s direction, the team at OMFA will conduct a ground-breaking research program to develop a personalised medicine approach for studying and treating ME/CFS.

In its first project his team will deeply characterise the biology of people with ME/CFS by continuously monitoring their health data and sporadically sampling and analysing their blood and urine over the course of a year. Data will be analysed to identify characteristics of disease severity in individuals, then compared across patients to identify patterns – helping to reduce the complexity and length of the personalised medicine approach.

The expected outcome is the establishment of a condensed personalised research method that can be used to track the development of ME/CFS, provide an understanding of the biology of the disease process in the individual, and monitor outcomes in treatment trials.

We look forward to providing you with periodic updates on OMFA and the progress of the Australian research centre, through our newsletters. Click here to donate to Help Cure ME:

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