Our microbiome crowdfund raised a wonderful $220,712 and the researchers are going to put it to use straight away! The Hutchins Family Foundation's Chronic Fatigue Initiative have generously paid for a small study of the gut microbiome and Columbia are seeking additional funds to expand it to a full-scale study of 100 patients and 100 controls.
Meanwhile, they’ll use our $220,712 for a closely related investigation of the microbiome of the oropharynx (part of the throat), which is linked to the gut via the gastrointestinal tract. The oropharynx microbiome, like that in the gut, may be affecting the immune system and even the brain, potentially playing an important role in ME/CFS. This is exciting work and it’s now underway!
But there’s so much more that they could do. In collaboration with specialist clinicians, the Columbia team have gathered a well-characterized group of patients for them to research in depth.
Those patients were investigated in Columbia's recent landmark study, which showed that the cytokine profile of ME/CFS patients is abnormal and changes markedly after three years. This study provided robust physical evidence of the biological basis of ME/CFS, and made international news. It’s the first evidence that this is a two-stage disease.
All that limits Columbia's progress now is funding.
Dr. Lipkin, Dr. Hornig and their team are absolutely top-flight, world-class leaders in the field of microbe discovery and we are incredibly lucky to have them working in this field. Research is what will find the cause of this devastating disease and hopefully lead to a cure.
Let’s help them do this work! Please donate here: www.bit.ly/DonateToDrLipkin
And for major gifts, please contact Fern Schwartz, Director of Development, Major Gifts at firstname.lastname@example.org
We'll keep you in touch with Columbia’s ongoing programme via our Facebook page and Twitter feed. There’ll be lots of exciting news to come!
ME/CFS: a devastating neuro-immune disease as disabling as multiple sclerosis, affecting one million Americans and 17 million people worldwide.
The study: a cutting-edge hunt for the causes of ME/CFS in the gut “microbiome” – the bacteria, viruses and fungi in the digestive system – led by “the world’s most celebrated virus hunter”, Dr W. Ian Lipkin at the world’s largest and most advanced center for microbe discovery and diagnosis at Columbia University in New York.
The payoff: a world-class study with the potential to swiftly lead to treatments using drugs, probiotics or exclusion diets.
Our challenge: to raise $1.27 million (£760,000; €910,000) to fund the project and do it fast! The scientists are ready to go and can complete and publish the study within 12 months. The sooner we fund it, the sooner it starts.
WE CAN DO IT!
In the past year our ME/CFS community has shown that it can rapidly raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for specific projects. After patients and supporters in Norway – with a population sixty times smaller than that of the US – raised $430,000 in 90 days for a clinical trial of Rituximab, a slew of US campaigns began crowdfunding and reached or exceeded their targets at astonishing speeds: $213,000 in 31 days for the documentary film Canary in a Coal Mine; $18,000 in 35 days for the documentary The Blue Ribbon; and $150,000 in 75 days for an Open Medicine Foundation study of Vitamin B12.
So, we can do this and we can do it quickly. Please donate now, from any country, so we can all benefit from the results of the study; Dr. Lipkin’s prestige is such that his findings will have international impact and help all of us. Tell your friends, your family and your local community to donate and spread the word.
Together, we can do this!
The Center’s laboratories, directed by Dr. Lipkin, have developed and validated techniques – high-throughput sequencing – for the rapid identification of disease-causing microbes and have thus discovered more than 500 viruses: more than anyone else. Dr. Lipkin and his team are actively engaged in state-of-the-art research to identify the factors that contribute to the onset of ME/CFS. They aim to provide insights into the disease that will allow for the development of diagnostic tests and eventual treatments.
The Center is part of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York.