In September 2018, the United States Department of Defense awarded an $8.5 million grant to an NSU research team led by primary investigator, Nancy Klimas, to establish a National Clinical Trials and Interventions Consortium. This particular grant facilitates the continued research of potential Gulf War Illness or GWI through the Gulf War Illness Clinical Trials and Interventions Consortium (GWICTIC).
“The consortium consists of an NSU based operation center led by Klimas who directs the NSU’s Institute for Neuro-Immune Medicine or INIM and is a recognized expert worldwide in complex conditions that include GWI, myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome. Klimas also manages a GWI speciality clinic at the Miami VA and the VA’s environmental medicine clinic and research program,” said Amanpreet Cheema, administrative director of GWICTIC.
There are a few collaborators of this consortium that include NSU’s INIM, Miami VA, Boston University, RTI International, Bronx VAMC, New Jersey War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (WRIISC) and the California U.S Department of Veterans Affairs WRIISC.
According to Jimmy Arocho, research associate for INIM and Gulf War veteran of the 101 airborne air-assault division, GWI is a unique condition that was introduced to U.S. service members after returning from the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War, or the Desert Shield and Desert Storm campaigns.This condition affects veterans and civilians who were exposed to a number of hazardous materials during these campaigns.
“During the Vietnam-era we had Agent Orange and in the Gulf War-era we have a collection of challenges that can stem anywhere from pesticides, organophosphates, ferin on the battlefield and prophylactic medicines taken to protect [service members] from nerve gas exposure,” said Arocho.