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Nanoneedle update: finding what's in the blood

Janet Dafoe

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There are a lot of various threads and tweets about this so I asked Ron to clarify where the research is at and what the plans are. As for everything else, this has gone a lot slower than it could have if he'd had more funding. The fact that he's gotten this far i totally due to patients' contributions to Open Medicine Foundation and to Stanford's ME/CFS Collaborative Research Center.

From Ron:

As you know, we have found that there is something in patients' plasma that is largely responsible for the signal that we see in the nanoneedle assay. We have some preliminary results using filtration that indicate that the major plasma component is fairly large, suggesting that it is not a cytokine.

We would like to identify what the component, or components, are that causes this signal, which could give us good insight into what's happening with the patients.

To conduct these experiments, we will need to fractionate the plasma using a variety of techniques, such as size fractionation. To fractionate means to divide the plasma up into multiple components based on various parameters. For example, to fractionate by size means to separate the plasma into 10 to 100 different parts, increasing in size.

We then need to run all these fractions in the nanoneedle at the same time, using the same blood sample. This is important, because if we run them one or two at a time there could be differences that are due to the different runs, rather than differences in the sample itself.

Currently, we are relying on a commercial instrument, costing $30,000, that is only capable of running 2 nanoneedle chip samples per day. Also, the sample needs to be run within 24 hours of the blood collection. Therefore, using the current machine, we would have to get new blood samples every day. We can't have the same patient come back every day and we can't use lots of different patients for different fractions, because people differ and this is just too much variance to yield anything useful.

What is now necessary is to fabricate a new electronic control system that can collect the data from the nanoneedle allowing it to collect data from up to 100 chips simultaneously. That way, all the fractions from the blood sample of one patient can be run simultaneously. Rahim Esfandyarpour, who developed the nanoneedle, has been working on this.

However, since Rahim has taken a professorship at UC Irvine, he has had to set up his whole new operation, get new students, and train everyone. He has been coming up to Stanford and collaborating with me every week. He has submitted a grant to NIH for this project. Meanwhile, he has been funded by OMF to pursue this new machine and to make new chips. He has now delivered a large new batch of chips.

We are now able to use the new chips to test various drugs, and we will use them in the new machine for fractionated plasma as soon as:

1. We have the new machine working
2. We have developed the fractionation method(s)
3. We have the new chips working with the new machine
4. We have solved all the problems that come up in the process

The current machine that runs 2 samples and collects the data from the nanoneedle costs $30,000 to buy. We don't need all the versatility of this commercial instrument. The machine that Rahim is developing will run up to 100 samples and will cost a few hundred dollars.

We are working as fast as we can to get this into operation.

I hope this clarifies some of your questions.

Ron Davis

Ron with nanoneedle commercial machine.
2FD43FF9-DA0E-4306-9883-0B573C6FA825.jpeg
 
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bread.

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@Janet Dafoe (Rose49)


Hi Janet,

thank you so much for what you are doing!

I strongly believe that the OMF and therefor your husband would get a ton more money if you would precisely do what you are doing here in such a great manner more often.

You (actually the OMF, not you) have to be more precise in communicating what you are doing at any given point with the money, also, and that is the MOST important part I think and I will not get tired of saying this:

YOU HAVE TO COLLECT MONEY IN A PROJECT SPECIFIC MANNER WITH A "GOFUNDME LIKE APPROACH".

PEOPLE WHO GIVE MONEY WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT IS USED FOR AND WANT TO FEEL PART OF IT.

I also tried to communicate this to OMF:

People will always give more if there is a specific project like "what is in the plasma" rather than an opaque goal with no specifics like "cure for me".

I am very certain that you would not believe of how much of a difference this would make in terms of money coming in!

Thank you!
 
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JES

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Great, thanks for the update. I sensed there has been some frustration from the community with regards to seemingly lack of progress with the something in the blood research, but this clears it up perfectly. Sometimes you can have all the research ready on paper, but lack of personnel, technology or other practical issues will require time to get sorted.
 

lauluce

as long as you manage to stay alive, there's hope
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@Janet Dafoe (Rose49)


Hi Janet,

thank you so much for what you are doing!

I strongly believe that the OMF and therefor your husband would get a ton more money if you would precisely do what you are doing here in such a great manner more often.

You (actually the OMF, not you) have to be more precise in communicating what you are doing at any given point with the money, also, and that is the MOST important part I think and I will not get tired of saying this:

YOU HAVE TO COLLECT MONEY IN A PROJECT SPECIFIC MANNER WITH A "GOFUNDME LIKE APPROACH".

PEOPLE WHO GIVE MONEY WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT IS USED FOR AND WANT TO FEEL PART OF IT.

I also tried to communicate this to OMF:

People will always give more if there is a specific project like "what is in the plasma" rather than an opaque goal with no specifics like "cure for me".

I am very certain that you would not believe of how much of a difference this would make in terms of money coming in!

Thank you!
I couldn't agree more. It certainly is encouraging to have an specific goal! I'm confident that if proper funding is achieved, this research will finally yield the results we have been waiting for so many years
 

Wishful

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People will always give more if there is a specific project like "what is in the plasma" rather than an opaque goal with no specifics like "cure for me".
True for me. I donated once, and thereafter wondered whether it was spent on projects that I don't feel will lead to an answer, or maybe it just went to more funding for fundraising. I didn't have a feeling that my donation made a difference. I'd be more likely to donate again if I knew that it was for a specific purpose I felt was important.
 

MonkeyMan

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@Janet Dafoe (Rose49)
Hi Janet,

thank you so much for what you are doing!

I strongly believe that the OMF and therefor your husband would get a ton more money if you would precisely do what you are doing here in such a great manner more often.

You (actually the OMF, not you) have to be more precise in communicating what you are doing at any given point with the money, also, and that is the MOST important part I think and I will not get tired of saying this:

YOU HAVE TO COLLECT MONEY IN A PROJECT SPECIFIC MANNER WITH A "GOFUNDME LIKE APPROACH".

PEOPLE WHO GIVE MONEY WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT IS USED FOR AND WANT TO FEEL PART OF IT.

I also tried to communicate this to OMF:

People will always give more if there is a specific project like "what is in the plasma" rather than an opaque goal with no specifics like "cure for me".

I am very certain that you would not believe of how much of a difference this would make in terms of money coming in!

Thank you!
YES!!! "bread", you nailed it perfectly ... and I am happy to be the proof of what you wrote: I just made a donation to the OMF because of this very SPECIFIC PROJECT UPDATE. Thank you so much, Janet and Ron, and please, PLEASE keep providing these sorts of updates on a regular basis! (I must admit that I did lose hope in recent years, but this update helps to restore it).

P.S. The icing on the cake would be if you can provide specific target dates for each step in the project. You could even tie this in with funding! For example, "We expect to have the new machine working by [insert date], but if we can raise $XX,XXX we may have it working by [insert date]."

That would REALLY inspire hope in -- and financial support from -- the ME/CFS community, including myself!
 
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Mary

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The machine that Rahim is developing will run up to 100 samples and will cost a few hundred dollars.
This is amazing! :thumbsup: I had thought he was going to say that the machine which will run up to 100 samples would cost at least $500,000 because the one that runs two samples costs $30,000 - this does give me a little hope! Thank you so much for all the info @Janet Dafoe (Rose49) and thank Ron too! :nerd:
 

percyval577

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I'd suggest we need a general fund and specific fund. Then the donor can choose where the money goes to.
The general thing with proper research is that the researcher needs to follow his own intuition. I am not so sure if within a organisation like the OMF specific funds are a good idea. True also that the intelligence of a swarm has been shown to be fairly great, but this may be not comparable here.
 
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lauluce

as long as you manage to stay alive, there's hope
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The general thing with proper research is that the researcher needs to follow his own intuition. I am not so sure if within a organisation like the OMF specific funds are a good idea. True also that the intelligence of a swarm has been shown to be fairly great, but this may be not comparable here.
you're right on that, they probably need to redirect funds to different projects or even new ones depending of the results and their new hypothesis
 

Mary

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@Janet Dafoe (Rose49) - Does Ron have any idea when they will be able to use the new chips in the new machine? I know they are working as fast as they can. I'm just wondering if he could give us even a rough estimate of when it might happen - e.g., 6 months, a year, 2 years, whatever he thinks reasonable as the outside estimate. And if he can't, that's fine - I know there are several different variables involved!
 
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@Janet Dafoe (Rose49)


Hi Janet,

thank you so much for what you are doing!

I strongly believe that the OMF and therefor your husband would get a ton more money if you would precisely do what you are doing here in such a great manner more often.

You (actually the OMF, not you) have to be more precise in communicating what you are doing at any given point with the money, also, and that is the MOST important part I think and I will not get tired of saying this:

YOU HAVE TO COLLECT MONEY IN A PROJECT SPECIFIC MANNER WITH A "GOFUNDME LIKE APPROACH".

PEOPLE WHO GIVE MONEY WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT IS USED FOR AND WANT TO FEEL PART OF IT.

I also tried to communicate this to OMF:

People will always give more if there is a specific project like "what is in the plasma" rather than an opaque goal with no specifics like "cure for me".

I am very certain that you would not believe of how much of a difference this would make in terms of money coming in!

Thank you!
I tend to agree with Bread. The more different ways you offer to give - project-specific (fund the nano-needle), person-specific (fund Wenzhong), event-specific (send Chris Armstrong to an NIH conference) - the more likely it is someone will find something that triggers them to give.

It could also help encourage donations in the case where people are skeptical of one line of research OMF is pursuing, but keen on another.

There's obviously problems with doing the accounting here. I think OMF would have to provide this option on a best-efforts basis rather than a legally-binding promise. If a well-funded line of research fails or there's a burning need to spend money elsewhere, it'd ultimately be their money to spend.

Still, this is not a no-brainer. Raising money costs money. Running multiple different fundraising campaigns requires TIME and effort. Do we really want OMF to create a paid position that is full-time fundraiser?!
 

FMMM1

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Considering the difficulty in diagnosing diseases like Lyme, I wonder if the nano-needle could be a rapid screening device. Even if it does not diagnose Lyme, ME or whatever specifically having a device which could narrow down the possible diseases producing a set of symptoms seems like a significant benefit.

My primary (+++) interest is ME.
 

alex3619

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I wonder if the nano-needle could be a rapid screening device.
I see its primary value as a test-bed. You can screen many drugs, as they have done, and all the new drugs as they are developed. However once we focus in on effective treatments, it can be used to titrate doses and refine methods, including dosage protocols. That is invaluable in accelerating actual treatments.
 

pattismith

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Personally I focus my interest on clinical research….
-The link between CFS/ME and autonomic nervous system failure seems the more interesting to me. I wish more studies about autonomic testing in cfs patients to be done.
-The correlation between CFS/ME and some autoimmune disorders, especially Sjogren and autoimmune thyroiditis, and between CFS/ME and auto-antibodies found in these diseases, ...