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ME/CFS and related chronic complex diseases

New Harvard ME/CFS Research Center Fulfills Crucial Need

On this #OMFScienceWednesday we share a detailed report from HealthRising by Cort Johnson on the new OMF-funded ME/CFS Collaborative Research Center at Harvard. In the article, Cort explores the focus on muscles, introduces the two leaders of the Center, OMF Scientific Advisory Board members Ronald G. Tompkins, MD, ScD, and Wenzhong Xiao, PhD, explores the Glue Grant Project (“The Glue Grant ended up transforming how the medical profession views trauma”), and interviews Ron Tompkins. Below are a few excerpts from the article.

(To jump to the full report: http://bit.ly/2uuEGb0)

-Focus on Muscle: For the time ever in chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) a concentrated effort to assess the molecular dynamics of what must be a core part of ME/CFS – the muscles – is underway. Ron Davis and other researchers are collecting mountains of data on the immune cells in the blood, but few researchers have assessed where the rubber meets the road with regards to exercise problems in ME/CFS. With Workwell’s two day exercise and David Systrom’s invasive exercise studies suggesting that profound problems exist with the delivery and utilization of oxygen at the muscle level this muscle study fulfills a crucial need in ME/CFS research and couldn’t have come at a better time.  It’ll be fascinating to see how the blood and muscle results intertwine to tell us more about ME/CFS.

-Glue Grant Project: The massive study which utilized 22 academic centers and involved dozens of researchers used (and developed) cutting edge molecular biology techniques to attempt to learn how inflammation – a protective process when kept under control – can spin out of control and cause immense damage. It’s a central question – why one person is able to recover from a serious injury while another dies of inflammation (sepsis) is not so different from the question of why ME/CFS patients remain ill.

-The Glue Grant project proved to be a fertile ground of creativity. It pioneered a multi-systemic approach to severe trauma and burn patients which involved the integration of large-scale cellular and physiologic, proteomic, genomic and gene expression data. The massive amounts of data (petabytes – millions of gigabytes) obtained required the development of new analytic procedures by Wenzhong Xiao and his computational team.  Another group of researchers spread across multiple laboratories developed experimental models of tissue injury, blood loss, and endotoxemia. Another group developed new ways to assess biological data including new microarrays which contained >6.9 million features. In all the new techniques pioneered by the team over the course of the study were published in 19 papers.

Thank you to Cort for sharing this report, and be sure to check out the full article: http://bit.ly/2uuEGb0