A friend of mine who is a patient of Dr. Jose Montoya at Stanford University brought this letter to my attention. In it, Dr. Montoya summarizes all of the ongoing research that he and his team at the Stanford Initiative for Study of Infection Associated Chronic Illnesses (that's a mouthful!) have been working on. And a few more that they will be working on soon.
The entire letter is worth reading, but I wanted to highlight a few points:
In reference to his study of infectious pathogens that may contribute to chronic diseases, Dr. Montoya writes:
"Towards this end we are collaborating at Stanford with: Manisha Desai, Ph.D, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine and Holden Maecker, Ph.D, Director, Human Immune Monitoring Center, and my colleagues at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City: W. Ian Lipkin, MD, Director, Center for Infection & Immunity, and the John Snow Professor of Epidemiology, and Professor of Neurology and Pathology and Mady Hornig, MA, MD, Associate Professor of Epidemiology."It's things like this that get me charged up. It seems we're starting to see more collaboration among the heavy hitters in the ME/CFS research world. When doctors like Montoya and Lipkin start collaborating, it's hard not to believe that good things are coming.
The other tidbit I liked was the section on gene expression:
Investigation of gene expression and immune system dynamics of infection in acute and chronic diseases:
Our team is currently working on new studies to understand the immune response and possible immune dysfunction observed in our patients. We are looking at gene expression, cytokine profiles, and phospho immunoflow to learn whether our patients’ immune response correlates with the presence of pathogens and other infectious agents. We have embarked on the task to identify new biomarkers that may help predict changes in disease over time and response to changes in medication.
I like that they are studying the nexus of the immune dysfunction and gene expression in ME/CFS, as these are the two main focuses of my treatments. I truly believe, in my case at least, that immune dysfunction is at the center of my problems, and that genetics may provide the best clues to how to reverse it.
I'm not sure how I feel about the use of the word "possible" next to "immune dysfunction"? C'mon, I think we're way past the point of mere "possibility," right? I'm mostly kidding. Scientists still consider gravity a "theory," so I guess the bar for conclusiveness is set pretty high.