Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Seasons Greetings 2019

A Very Happy Christmas to readers of my blog, your families and friends.

From the Bible –

2 Corinthians 8 v 9: “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.”

A Christmas Carol –

Thou Who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becamest poor;
Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
Thou Who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becamest poor.

Thou Who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest man;
Stooping so low, but sinners raising
Heav’nwards by Thine eternal plan.
Thou Who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest man.

Thou Who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship Thee.
Emmanuel, within us dwelling,
Make us what Thou wouldst have us be.
Thou Who art love, beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship Thee.

Frank Houghton, 1894-1972.

C H Spurgeon's Cheque Book Of The Bank Of Faith Daily Devotional for 25th December

He Came; He Is Coming

This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:11)

Many are celebrating our Lord's first coming this day; let us turn our thoughts to the promise of His second coming. This is as sure as the first advent and derives a great measure of its certainty from it. He who came as a lowly man to serve will assuredly come to take the reward of His service. He who came to suffer will not be slow in coming to reign.

This is our glorious hope, for we shall share His joy. Today we are in our concealment and humiliation, even as He was while here below; but when He cometh it will be our manifestation, even as it will be His revelation. Dead saints shall live at His appearing. The slandered and despised shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Then shall the saints appear as kings and priests, and the days of their mourning shall be ended. The long rest and inconceivable splendour of the millennial reign will be an abundant recompense for the ages of witnessing and warring.

Oh, that the Lord would come! He is coming! He is on the road and traveling quickly. The sound of His approach should be as music to our hearts! Ring out, ye bells of hope!

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, 
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, 
but have everlasting life” (John 3 v 16).

Saturday, 21 December 2019

A Holiday Message from Dr Ron Davis, 21 December 2019

Dr Ron Davis shares an update on research at the OMF-funded ME/CFS Collaborative Research Center at the Stanford Genome Technology Center. He shares holiday greetings and hope with the entire ME/CFS community.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Nanoneedle update: finding what's in the blood

By Janet Dafoe

10 December 2019

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

Monday, 2 December 2019

UK Charity Pledges £500,000 for Research into ME in Norwich Research Park

Press Release from Invest in ME Research

for Immediate Release

UK Charity Pledges £500,000 for Research into ME in Norwich Research Park

UK Charity Invest in ME Research is pledging £500,000 for continued research into the disease myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME or ME/CFS) in Norwich Research Park, UK (NRP).

This major investment builds on the foundations already made for a UK/European Centre of Excellence for ME research hub in Norwich Research Park.

The pledge covers joint funding of a PhD position in partnership with University of East Anglia and over 70% of the required funding for a clinical trial of Faecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) being performed alongside other high-quality biomedical research at the Quadram Institute (QI).

QI’s world-class facility has seen four PhDs already employed on research into ME, focusing specifically on the gut microbiota and links to ME.

Invest in ME Research Chairman Kathleen McCall said: “This is a massive undertaking for a small charity but it underlines our confidence in the quality and direction of research at Quadram Institute. This research offers an opportunity to test a new form of treatment for ME in well-designed clinical trial. On top of the other initiatives being created in partnership with QI we believe this has the potential to change the face of research into this disease.”

Professor Simon Carding, Head of Gut Microbes and Health Research Programme at Quadram Institute Bioscience said: “We are incredibly grateful for the ongoing support from Invest in ME Research and their supporters. We are very excited at the prospect of undertaking the FMT clinical trial, as part of our ongoing investigations into the links between ME and the gut microbiome.”

This research news comes after recent meetings of the European ME Research Group (EMERG) and European ME Clinicians Council (EMECC) in which QI and UEA played major roles and which will form European collaborations and coordination of research into ME and clinical expertise development for this disease.

The continuing and developing research in Norwich Research Park holds out great hope for the future for ME patients and their families.

ME commonly presents with hugely diverse and debilitating symptoms including post-exertional malaise, unrefreshing sleep, cognitive dysfunction and widespread pain. ME has been estimated to affect around 250,000 people in the UK and direct and indirect economic costs have been estimated in the USA to be $20 billion annually. The severity of symptoms varies. Around 25% of sufferers may be classed as severely affected - often bed bound at some point in their lives with periods of relapse and remission common and only 6% returning to full health.

The pledge brings to five the number of PhD positions that the charity has funded/part-funded.


Notes for editors

About Invest in ME Research

Invest in ME Research (charity nr 1153730) is an independent UK charity finding, funding and facilitating biomedical research into ME.

Invest in ME Research is run by volunteers - patients or parents of children with ME - with no paid staff. Overheads are kept to a minimum to enable all funds raised to go to promoting education of, and facilitating and funding biomedical research into ME. The charity organises an annual International ME Conference Week in London which includes a two day research Colloquium, young/early career researcher conference and a public international conference that regularly has delegates from twenty countries attending.

The charity's efforts are on developing the Centre of Excellence for ME to maintain a strategy of high-quality biomedical research into the disease and encouraging European collaboration in research and development of clinical expertise.

For more information visit

Contact details [Chairman Kathleen McCall, Invest in ME Research, PO BOX 561, Eastleigh SO50 0GQ, UK email:

About the Quadram Institute

The Quadram Institute ( is an interdisciplinary research centre at the forefront of a new era of food and health research. It brings together researchers and clinicians under one roof and houses one of Europe’s largest endoscopy units and a clinical research facility.

Based on the Norwich Research Park, The Quadram Institute is a partnership between Quadram Institute Bioscience, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the University of East Anglia and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Its mission is to deliver healthier lives through innovation in gut health, microbiology and food and its vision is to understand how food and microbes interact to promote health and prevent disease.

Four interconnected research themes in Quadram Institute Bioscience deliver a pipeline of research in plants, microbes, food and health: microbes in the food chain; the gut and the microbiome; food innovation and population health.

For media enquiries please contact:
Andrew Chapple,, 01603 251490, 07713087883

About University of East Anglia

The University of East Anglia (UEA) is a UK Top 25 university and is ranked in the top 50 globally for research citations. Known for its world-leading research and good student experience, it was awarded Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework and is a leading member of Norwich Research Park, one of Europe’s biggest concentrations of researchers in the fields of environment, health and plant science.

For media enquiries please contact:
Penny Powell, 01603 591238 

Ron Davis talks ME/CFS at Columbia and Princeton

Written by Janet Dafoe, PhD

Ron Davis spent the last week on the East Coast giving talks and talking individually to scientists and doctors about ME/CFS. First, he spent two days at Princeton University. He talked to individuals, groups of graduate students, and groups at lunches and dinners. He gave a talk in the huge Molecular Biology Department (includes immunology, microbiology, genetics, biochemistry, et al) in a big lecture hall with about 300 scientists. He sensed that they were surprised and shocked by how many people are affected and how severe the disease is. They were impressed by the progress Dr. Davis has made with such minimal NIH funding and relying on donations from patients.

Then Dr. Davis went to the Einstein Medical Center at Columbia University and gave a similar talk to 100 doctors and scientists in person and 184 more who logged in online. Again, they were surprised and shocked by the information he presented. He knew it was being Livestreamed so he didn’t take questions, but talked for 1 1/2 hours and incorporated questions that he is commonly asked. Nobody left. Ron really emphasizes the prevalence and severity of ME/CFS, the need for medical care, the urgent need for research, the growing group of great scientists that are working on it and the fact that none of them have enough funding from NIH.

The week before this, Dr. Davis gave the keynote address at Synchrony 2019, a large Autism conference in Pleasanton, California. Again, he had a large audience of researchers, doctors, and caregivers. They were really impressed by his research and were struck by some of the similarities between Autism and ME/CFS.  OMF Scientific Advisory Board Member Robert Naviaux, MD, talked just before Ron. They are going to collaborate with Ron, sending some patients to his lab so they can investigate similarities and differences. The Autism group will be funded by one of the Autism Foundations since Ron only uses Open Medicine Foundation funds on ME/CFS.