From the Desk of Ronald W. Davis, Ph.D.
Chair, OMF Scientific Advisory Board
Director, ME/CFS Stanford Collaborative Research

An update from Dr. Ron Davis:
Improving diagnostic tools for ME/CFS

#TripleGivingTuesday Research Update

As OMFCA comes closer to the end of its #TripleGivingTuesday campaign, I’m pleased to share this special Research Update for our supporters.

OMF has recently funded a project, under my direction, at University of California, Davis to improve a microfluidic diagnostic device to measure red blood cell deformability in people with ME/CFS.  This effort is led by Jiandi Wan and Sitong Zhou, in collaboration with myself and my colleague, Mohsen Nemat-Gorgan of the ME/CFS Collaborative Research Center at Stanford University.

Several prior studies have implicated a role of “oxidative” stress in ME/CFS. Red blood cells (RBCs) are potent scavengers of oxidative stress and their shape changes noticeably in response to oxidative stress; this has also been observed in certain inflammatory conditions including obesity and diabetes. The shape of RBCs determines how well these cells can move through blood vessels, so it seems pertinent to determine if RBCs in ME/CFS patients are affected. This has led to the development of a microfluidic device that mimics blood flow through microcapillaries.

We are developing a recording device using electrical flow to measure RBC movement and measure differences in cell velocity. It will be inexpensive and easy to operate in different clinical settings, and in a relatively short time.

The project undertaken by the team at UC Davis include:

Designing and fabricating new microfluidic devices with implanted microelectrodes inside the channel

Testing the device using RBCs from healthy controls and ME/CFS patients under hypoxia (low levels of oxygen)

Testing the behavior of RBCs suspended in their respective plasma, compared with a phosphate-buffered saline solution for sensitivity and reproducibility, and for possible effects on cell speed; and

Calibrating the device using RBCs from healthy controls with different age groups and gender, and thereby establishing the related “normal ranges”, which can subsequently be used for patient diagnosis.

*While OMF funds research projects at our six established Collaborative Research Centers, we are not typically involved in the research process and cannot introduce constituents to researchers. CRCs are not able to respond to inquiries from the general public. When OMF seeks participants in any data gathering research project, we will email those requests to our entire community. *

Please join me in supporting these groundbreaking research efforts into ME​/​CFS!

There’s no better time to give. Your gift of any amount will be tripled from now through November 30, 2021, giving you the exciting opportunity to accelerate projects like these to find diagnostic tools, treatments and a cure for people with ME​/​CFS and related multisystem chronic, complex diseases worldwide.

Support these innovative projects by donating to OMFCA’s 2021 #TripleGivingTuesday campaign today!

Please also consider becoming a monthly donor! Monthly donations are what guarantees that the research can continue. Even just $10 a month makes a huge impact — think of it like a monthly subscription for research!