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The Open Medicine Institute (OMI) To Develop First-Ever Biomarkers For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome And A Range Of Complex Diseases


5/21/2014 1:54:16 PM

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Mt. View, CA, May 21, 2014 – The Open Medicine Institute (OMI), an organization with a mission to improve health care by applying a multi-disciplinary, “big data” approach, today announced that it will begin development of a biomarker for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and other prevalent, chronic but difficult-to-diagnose diseases.

Plans are in place for development of two key tests - a detection biomarker based on RNA expression data from patients and normal volunteers, and a theranostic tool to evaluate treatment efficacy. This is especially critical for CFS as there are no proven diagnostics or treatments and many patients and physicians are currently relying on anecdotal efficacy claims of multiple therapies in their efforts to get well. The proof-of-concept phase of the project has been generously funded by interested Silicon Valley donors and broadly, via the CFS community.

The novel biomarker project will be led by OMI utilizing Affymetrix’ microarray technology and platform. “With applications and expertise support from Affymetrix, we are looking forward to developing biomarkers for this enigmatic disease that affects over 8 million people globally,” said Andreas Kogelnik, MD, PhD, Founder of the Open Medicine Institute. “There is so much misinformation about CFS, we need to focus new tools and technologies on this disease to fully understand and treat it.”

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by a variety of symptoms including extreme fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity. Additional symptoms including exercise intolerance, profound weakness and fatigue, muscle pain and impaired memory typically have severe impacts on a patient’s life; in many cases rendering them disabled for years. Fewer than 20% of individuals will have been diagnosed with CFS and received correct medical attention for this disease.

“Affymetrix is pleased to support OMI on their quest to develop biomarkers for CFS as a model for other chronic diseases – helping to identify difficult to detect conditions and understand and guide treatment decisions,” said David Weaver, Chief Commercial Officer at Affymetrix.

OMI will also be utilizing the Affymetrix microarray technology on projects covering other complex diseases such as Autism.

Expanded Core Affymetrix Facility

OMI is now an authorized service provider for Affymetrix. In this capacity, OMI will provide research services using Affymetrix tools and technologies to those interested in conducting their own studies. The expanded core facility will also be broadly available to community physicians as a laboratory resource offering research and CLIA-approved testing.

About OMI

OMI is a community-driven organization committed to applying a multi-disciplinary, big data approach to the health care system to advance the understanding of “difficult” diseases and improve patient outcomes. OMI maintains a clinical research facility based in Mt View, next to El Camino Hospital (“the hospital of Silicon Valley”), including clinical space, laboratory draw station and core genomic/biotechnology laboratory, informatics core, and physiology laboratory. In addition, OMI interacts with a large network of like-minded international collaborators: solo physicians, academic centers, laboratories, industry, large health systems and others. OMI has developed and employs a novel technology platform – OpenMedNet – that facilitates information sharing (patient consented and HIPAA compliant) and optimizes collaboration amongst all participants in the health care continuum. OMI’s Board and Advisors include recognized innovators and leaders in the fields of medicine, genomics and technology. OMI is a California Community Benefits Corporation committed to returning valuable results to the patients and communities it serves. For more information about the Open Medicine Institute, please visit: www.openmedicineinstitute.org

Information on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS):

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a devastating and complex disease affecting neurologic function, metabolism, circulation/blood pressure and overall well being. There are currently over 8 million patients living with ME/CFS worldwide and possibly many more that have gone undiagnosed. ME/CFS can significantly interfere with the patient’s daily activities and work. Patients experience a significantly reduced quality of life – sometimes the mere act of walking across a room has such a profound impact on the cellular-level metabolism that the patient requires days of bed rest thereafter. ME/CFS has few options for accurate diagnosis and treatment since researchers have not yet identified what causes this disease. Since there are few effective treatments and no diagnostics, ME/CFS is currently diagnosed only by exclusion. In the US, the illness is more prevalent than lung cancer, leukemia and AIDS combined. (CDC and SEER Report, 5-year prevalence rates).

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