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$612,000 Granted to OMI for Critical ME/CFS Research Pilots

  [ 6 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • November 26, 2013

$612,000 Granted to OMI for Critical ME/CFS Research Pilots

Open Medicine Foundation (OMF) is thrilled to announce receipt of $612,000 that will be granted to Open Medicine Institute and its collaborators towards a series of investigative research projects in support of the ME/CFS OMI-MERIT Initiative (see below). These projects will take a deep dive into a small group of patients.

Areas to be studied in this project will include in depth testing on 20 patients:

  • Whole genome sequencing analysis of a cohort of ME/CFS patients – aligned with OMI’s EPE-funded whole genome study (add-on for MERIT #6)

  • A virome survey of oral viral flora (saliva study for MERIT #8).

  • A gene expression study to examine 30,000 human genes for changes in gene expression patterns correlated with improvement/response to treatment (pilots for MERIT #1 and #2).

  • Two proteomic/metabolomic pilot studies (pilot study for MERIT #3 and #7):

  • One looking at over 250,000 protein features per sample. Resulting in a protein profile to compare a baseline ME/CFS patient with responders and non-responders.

  • The second analysis will examine 30,000 smaller molecule profiles representing toxins and metabolites in the same set of samples. This will further our understanding of what a patient’s profile looks like on a molecular level pre and post-treatment.

  • Natural killer cells, B-cells, and T-cells will be looked at for functional performance, activation markers when compared between ill and recovered patients (pilot for MERIT #5 and #9).

  • Other Immunology studies will include single cell measurements, acetylation and other cellular parameters (partial of MERIT #9).

  • Breath testing for GI flora gas production with dietary changes to start looking at the effect of the gut microbiota on the disease, recovery and treatment (1/2 for MERIT #7).

  • Measurement of mitochondrial and related biochemical pathways that play a role in oxidative stress and energy production, adrenal and thyroid pathways that regulate metabolic function along with full panels of pituitary, gonadal, adrenal and other hormones.

  • Brain/Cognitive Data will be collected using unique on-line programs including reaction time, short-term memory, latency, and additional cognitive assessments. These data will be correlated with clinical and molecular endpoints (pilot for MERIT #2).  

  • Quantified-Self (self measurement) projects will rely on wearable devices logging data of activity, heart rate, sleep patterns, blood pressure, heart rate variability (a measure of stress) and others (pilot for MERIT #2).

Leading this research effort will be Andreas Kogelnik, MD, PhD of the OMI.  Kogelnik said, “These  small, in-depth studies involve the laboratories of Ron Davis, PhD (Stanford), Mauro Malnati, PhD (San Raffaele Institute), and a host of international laboratories, companies, clinicians and patients. They leverage our existing global collaborations and help drive the OMI-MERIT initiative forward, performing studies in key areas that will provide a basis for deeper analysis towards understanding ME/CFS.”  

OMF Executive Director, Linda Tannenbaum, announced that funding for these critical projects has come from two anonymous donors that have generously stepped forward to accelerate ME/CFS research to the next level.  In addition, over $12,000 has been received from generous on-line giving from individuals towards the OMI-MERIT Initiative.  She continued that the impact these donors are making provides immeasurable hope for the patient community.   

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