From our Scientific Advisory Board Director:
I want to thank all the patients and other donors who have generously donated to OMF so that we can do this research. With these donations we’ve been able to fund exciting pilot studies and pursue new research directions, and now we need to greatly expand these efforts in order to find treatments and a cure as fast as possible.
In order to speed up the research, we need to hire more scientists and staff. Right now each project is basically run by one person. These individuals have made impressive progress with few resources, but so much more could be accomplished if there were more scientists working on each project. One problem is that if they are sick or out or town, or writing a grant or a paper, the project comes to a halt. For example, in our nanoneedle experiments, Rahim Esfandyarpour carries out the experiments on patient samples, but sometimes he has to stop and fabricate more nanofabricated sensors, which means he has to stop running the experiments. Also, he needs to redesign all of the electronics to make it cheaper and more efficient, but doing this requires that he stop doing the experiments. We need to hire more scientists for these different jobs, so that we can make faster progress. This is just one example. Each of our projects has the same issue. It’s amazing what these people have been able to accomplish!
In addition, we need a diversity of expertise, which will enable us to use the best methods to accomplish something and not be limited by lack of expertise. Some diversity can be achieved by lots of effective collaborations, and we have established extensive collaborations. But sometimes it’s more efficient and faster to do something in our own lab, and time is of the essence. The most expensive part of research is the salaries; they account for about 70% of the research budget.
My goal is to understand the cause of this disease, to develop effective treatments, and hopefully, a cure. I’m desperate to do this for my son and for the millions of other suffering patients. In order to do this as fast as possible, my vision is to establish a multi-disciplinary research center at the same scale that I had when I was working on the Human Genome Project. The budget for that project was $10 million per year. We made major contributions to the technology for sequencing and the project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget.
Look at what we have been able to accomplish with the wonderful donations we have received so far, largely from the patient community! The Pineapple Fund donation will enable us to expand some of the projects, establish the Harvard Center, and make certain we have salaries for people for the next year. For my full vision to become a reality, we need to continue our vigorous fundraising and do everything we can to find more major donors and also get NIH more seriously committed to solving this horrendous problem.
We have several more projects planned that haven’t been funded yet, and we will inform you about these soon.
I will never give up!
Director, Scientific Advisory Board