Human Genome Project pioneer now on a quest to solve chronic fatigue syndrome

5-13-2019 stanford geneticist son exlarge
Davis waits outside of his son Whitney's bedroom door for a signal that it's ok to go in. Image: Rachel Bujalski/CNN

[Ron] Davis, who is 77, leads a lab that invented much of the technology that powered the Human Genome Project. Now he and his wife spend much of their days caring for their 35-year-old son, who is immobilized by myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).

Davis is leading a global push to root out the molecular basis of what is laying waste to Whitney.

One of their inventions, a “nanoneedle” for testing blood, speaks to the need to find a single biomarker in patients’ blood.

Davis’ team has tested their nanoneedle with initial success and recently published their findings in a scholarly journal. They discovered ME/CFS patients’ blood responds to the introduction of “stress” — in this case, salt — differently than the blood of healthy people. Davis hopes the device will ultimately produce a cheap clinical test by which doctors can identify ME/CFS quickly and accurately.

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He also wants to explore measures to prevent the disease. For example, he wants to understand why people with mononucleosis often develop ME/CFS.

Those are just a few of many things Davis’ team are working on.

Read full, original post: He pioneered technology that fueled the Human Genome Project. Now his greatest challenge is curing his own son

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