Driving research of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS),
Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), Fibromyalgia and Long Covid

OMF-funded research: diagnostic and drug-screening technology

On this #OMFScienceWednesday we continue our series on research projects that OMF is funding all over the world, with a look at efforts to develop diagnostic and drug-screening technology for ME / CFS. This project is ongoing at the ME / CFS Collaborative Research Center at Stanford under the direction of Dr. Ron Davis. We are hopeful that the technologies developed by his team will make the diagnosis of ME / CFS faster, easier, and cheaper – and will offer a new way to discover candidate drugs.

Because there is no biological/lab diagnostic for ME / CFS, diagnosing the disease is a terribly lengthy and costly process for patients. This not only harms patient care, but also complicates research. Dr. Davis’ team has developed inexpensive technologies that can monitor cellular and molecular features of blood samples. (Read our previous piece on why a blood-based diagnostic would be particularly valuable for ME / CFS.) So far, two of their technologies – the nanoneedle biosensor and the magnetic levitation platform – have shown promise in distinguishing ME / CFS blood samples from healthy control blood samples, when they are subjected to salt (sodium chloride) stress.

This project will build on these findings as follows:

  1. Validating diagnostic potential of technology in a larger patient population. So far, the team has tested ~10 patients and ~10 healthy controls – next, they will at least triple this number. This validation will also reveal whether it is possible to tell apart different subgroups / severities via blood samples.
  2. Adapting into drug screening technology. Once the technology is validated for diagnostic purposes, the team will test whether adding drugs to the patient samples can make them behave like healthy samples. By scaling up the technology to test many drugs at a time, including some that are already FDA-approved, they aim to identify new candidate treatments for ME / CFS that could be used in future clinical trials.

Read more about Dr. Davis’ work on developing diagnostic technology for ME / CFS in this recent Nature News piece documenting many of the latest efforts in the field.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS) Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), Fibromyalgia Leading Research. Delivering Hope.Open Medicine Foundation®

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Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS) Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), Fibromyalgia Leading Research. Delivering Hope.Open Medicine Foundation®

Averting a second pandemic:

Open Medicine Foundation leads groundbreaking international study of

Long COVID’s conversion to ME/CFS

AGOURA HILLS, CALIF.  — Open Medicine Foundation (OMF) is leading a large-scale international collaborative study investigating the potential conversion of Post-Acute Sequelae SARS-CoV-2 infection — more commonly known as Long COVID or Post-COVID Syndrome —  to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), a chronic, life-altering disease with no known cause, diagnostic test or FDA approved treatments available.

Up to 2.5 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from ME/CFS; the COVID-19 pandemic could at least double that number. An estimated 35 percent of Americans who had COVID-19 have failed to fully recover several months after infection, prompting many to call it “a potential second pandemic.”

OMF recognized a familiar health crisis emerging, one with eerie similarities to ME/CFS. This crisis presented a unique opportunity to understand how a viral infection — in this case COVID-19 — may develop into ME/CFS in some patients. The goal is to find targeted treatments for ME/CFS patients and ultimately prevent its onset in people infected with SARS-CoV-2 or other infections.

The federal government is only now investing in Post-COVID research, with no focus on its connection to ME/CFS. OMF has already engaged researchers for the largest-scale study of its kind, solely supported by private donors who have contributed over one million dollars to date. When fully funded, the five million dollar, three-year study will be conducted across the globe at OMF funded Collaborative Research Centers, led by some of the world’s top researchers and ME/CFS experts.

BACKGROUND

In a significant percentage of patients, infections preceded their development of ME/CFS.  For example, according to the CDC about one in ten infected with Epstein-Barr virus, Ross River virus, or Coxiella burnetti develop symptoms that meet the criteria for ME/CFS.

THE STUDY

The ability to follow the development of ME/CFS from a known viral infection is unprecedented to date and crucial to researchers’ understanding of the disease. The focus of this study is to find the biological differences between persons returning to good health after COVID-19 and persons who remained ill more than six months after infection and developed ME/CFS.  Understanding these alterations in key pathways can lead to groundbreaking discoveries including new biomarkers, drug targets, and prevention and treatment strategies.

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About Open Medicine Foundation

Established in 2012, Open Medicine Foundation leads the largest, concerted worldwide nonprofit effort to diagnose, treat, and prevent ME/CFS and related chronic, complex diseases such as Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Post COVID. OMF adds urgency to the search for answers by driving transformational philanthropy into global research. We have raised over $28 Million from private donors and facilitated and funded the establishment of six prestigious ME/CFS Collaborative Research Centers around the world. To learn more, visit www.omf.ngo.

CONTACT:

Heather Ah San

Development and Communications Manager

1-650-242-8669

heather@omf.ngo