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Understanding fibromyalgia: using twin studies to devise a diagnostic blood test for fibromyalgia

Award Details

  • Principal Investigator
    Dr Frances Williams
  • Type of grant
    Project Grant
  • Amount Awarded
  • Institute
    King's College London
  • Location
  • Status
  • Start Date
  • Grant reference number
  • Condition

What are the aims of this research?

The aim of this study is to develop a diagnostic blood test by examining samples and measurements taken from 400 twin volunteers, in which one twin has fibromyalgia, to try to identify markers in their DNA that are associated with the disease.

Why is this research important?

Fibromyalgia is a long term painful condition which is poorly understood and difficult to manage. At present, treatment is limited and, in many cases, is unsatisfactory. Currently there is no blood test for fibromyalgia: this makes diagnosis difficult. 

Fibromyalgia is influenced by genetic factors but there are many complicated steps between gene and disease. This project will explore those steps and aims to identify a fibromyalgia marker in the twins with the disease compared to their healthy twin counterpart. In addition, the results will shed light on the disease process and inform future research in fibromyalgia as well as other chronic pain syndromes which are seen alongside it.

How will the findings benefit patients?

This study will potentially lead to the identification of a biological marker of Fibromyalgia which could be subsequently developed into a blood test. Such a test could aid diagnosis, allow the personalisation of current treatments, potentially identify new, more effective therapies, and may even provide prognostic information.

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