DRACO: Death to the Virus

by  —  November 17, 2011

In a paper published 27 July [1], researchers from MIT reported successful tests in mice with a new drug that holds the promise of being a cure to all viruses. The drug, DRACO (Double-stranded RNA Activated Caspase Oligomerizer), works as a “broad-spectrum” antiviral, killing virus-hijacked cells by targeting double-stranded RNA produced in the viral replication process. DRACO proved successful against all 15 viruses tested “including rhinoviruses that cause the common cold, H1N1 influenza, a stomach virus, a polio virus, dengue fever and several other types of hemorrhagic fever.” [2]

We may expect results from cell trials against AIDS within the next 12 months.

DRACO is but one broad-spectrum therapeutic being developed as part of a project called PANACEA (Pharmacological Augmentation of Nonspecific Anti-pathogen Cellular Enzymes and Activities) headed by Dr. Todd Rider, senior staff scientist in MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s Chemical, Biological, and Nanoscale Technologies Group.

I met with Dr. Rider in the food court of the MIT co-op bookstore early on a weekday. He had already finished tending to his mice and, after we chatted, he rose to declare that he was off to do “real work”… writing grant proposals to keep his research alive.

 

Could you give us a broad overview of the Panacea project?

Sure. We’ve come up with a broad-spectrum antiviral that we call DRACO, Double-stranded RNA Activated Caspase Oligomerizer (I love acronyms), and it’s basically designed to detect any long double stranded RNA, so we’ve created chimeric proteins where one end will detect the chimeric RNA — the double-stranded RNA — and then the other end will trigger apoptosis, or cell suicide. So the net effect is that these DRACO molecules can go inside all the cells in your body, or at this moment, inside all the cells in a mouse, and if they don’t find anything, then they don’t do anything. But if they find a viral infection, if they find a viral double-stranded RNA, then that will activate the back ends to trigger cell suicide, and that will kill the infected cell. That terminates the infection.

So there wouldn’t be a difference between DNA Viruses and RNA Viruses?

It works with both. We’ve tested it on both. All known viruses make double-stranded RNA, and that’s true from the literature and also true from our experiments. So here (indicating illustration) the viruses we tested included a couple DNA viruses, and it worked quite nicely against those. Others in the literature are also known to make quite a bit of double-stranded RNA. Other DNA viruses, like pox viruses and herpes viruses, also make double-stranded RNA.

Has it been tested on each family of virus?

It’s been tested on these families of viruses so far (indicating paper). There are a gazillion viruses, so we’re working our way through them as quickly as we can. It’s been tested on several very different families so far.

My understanding is that viruses usually kill the cell anyway, but retroviruses usually do not. I don’t know how viruses cluster. Are there any odds at all that there would be a retrovirus that clusters too tightly in a certain organ where it [triggered cell death by DRACO] would cause a lesion?

Virtually all viruses will kill the host cell on the way out. Of the hand-full that don’t, your own immune system will try to kill those infected cells. So we’re really not killing any more cells with our appraoch than we already have been. It’s just that we’re killing them at an early enough stage before they infect and ultimately kill more cells. So if anything this limits the amount of cell death.

So that’s not really a legitimate fear.

It shouldn’t be.

How far along are you and how far away are you from human trials?

Unfortunately quite a long way. We’ve done a number of tests in mice. We need to do more testing in mice. Of course, MIT is not a pharmaceutical company. There’s only so far we can take it at MIT. We’re hoping to license it to some pharmaceutical company, and they would carry to larger-scale animal trials. Usually the FDA wants to see a lot of mouse trials, which we’ve done already; and then a lot of trials in, say, rabbits or guinea pigs, and then trials in monkeys before they approve human trials. So, if a licensee takes this, if we have funding for it, it still might take a decade or so before it really is available for humans.

So how’s the funding working now?

We have funding from NIH [National Institutes of Health].

And can you take it up to monkey here [at MIT]?

We may be able to take it into further animal models here, but mice are the easiest thing to use. We have a lot of mice. We’re also limited by funding. We only haved NIH funding at the moment, and we only have enough funding for about 1 person, and we have 4 people total, counting me, working at the moment, so we’ve split the funding four different ways…

Has anybody reached out to you?

Nope. Not so far.

When I first read about this I thought this was an amazing story, that this would be front-page news in a couple of hours. Weeks later, I was thinking this must not have been a true story. That’s when I looked it up again and saw that it was indeed on the MIT site. What’s the relative lack of interest. There haved been articles, but I feel this is definitely front-page material.

Well thank you. On the funding front, I think there’s a ton of funding for very basic research — not applied research, trying to cure something, but basic research — Let’s go study this virus, see how this virus works in a little more detail. There’s a ton of NIH funding for that. On the applied front, if you are ready for human trials — so you’re 10 years more advanced than we are now — then there are government agencies and companies that will take it and take it to that final step. But in that long gap in between there’s very very little funding out there. So we’ve been struggling for all of 11 years now just working to get funding, and at the moment we’re just barely limping along.

This is a subset of PANACEA, right? Can you describe PANACEA?

PANACEA is a family of broad-spectrum anti-pathogen treatments. We’ve tested some others, we’ve tried to get funding for others. This [DRACO] is the one that is furthest along.

What are some of the others that look promising?

We have a number of others. [DRACO] is a broad-spectrum antiviral. We have other broad-spectrum antivirals. We also have other PANACEA treatments that we’ve adapted to go after other things. Like for bacteria. And of course there are antibiotics, but for bacteria that are resistant to existing antibiotics, such as tuberculosis, malaria… so we can adapt this to pathogens other than viruses. We’ve done some initial experiments, we just can’t get funding for that so far.

Do you foresee any potential wild-cards in the human trials?

It’s always difficult to tell what will happen. I hope that there won’t be. We’re always concerned that there will be some toxicity or other unforeseen problems. We’ve been very pleased every step of the way in the cell testing. We’ve tested in a number of different human cell types representing many different organs; human lung cells, human liver cells, all kinds of different human cells, as well as a variety of animal cells. We haven’t seen any toxicity or any other strange effects in any of those cell types. In the mice we were again very concerned about toxicity, and we haven’t seen any toxicity in the mice. We inject the mice with very high doses of the stuff daily for a number of days, and they seem fine. We let them move for a while, eventually we dissected them, looked at the tissues. All the tissues were fine, there’s no organ damage or anything. It’s always possible something unexpected could come up further down the road in monkies or in humans. We certainly hope not. But I think there is enough flexibility in the concept that even if there were a problem, there are ways to redesign the constructs that we have to overcome any potential problems.

That might also speak to the production cost. Is it fairly low production cost if, say, it was to be mass-produced in the future?

These are produced in bacteria, and at the moment I really don’t know what the ultimate production cost would be. We produce on a very small scale, barely enough for our mice. Of course cells eat a lot less DRACO than mice do. So if we’re producing for cells, that’s a very small quantity, but just a few flasks of bacteria will produce enough to last us for a while. But once you scale this up to a large-scale production large-scale animal trials or human trials, hopefully the cost would go down. I don’t know exactly what the cost would be.

Do you envision the final end-plan to be people with DRACO in their medicine cabinet, or more like penicillin today?

If it’s safe I’d like to see it used as much as possible for as many different things as possible. I would guess that if it were approved for human use by the FDA, initially they would be conservative enough that they would only want to see it used in very dire cases, just in case there are interesting side-effects or something, and it’s only to people with ebola or HIV that’s become resistant to other drugs who would get this. If this proved to be safe in those cases, then I would hope that they’d approve it for wider use against more common pathogens, perhaps all the way down to the common cold. And if it really is safe, then maybe you’d just pop a DRACO pill any time you felt a cold coming on.

How long does it stay in the system? It’s obviously not a vaccine —

Right. In cells it lasts at least for a couple of weeks, possibly longer. In the mice it lasts for at least 2 days. We have a lot of data in the paper showing it will persist in mice for at least 48 hours at fairly high doses in the tissues. This is really about trying to optimize that. There are a lot of tricks we can use to try to make it last longer if necessary. And if this stuff is truly completely safe, then you can give it prophylactically. You could even concievably give someone the gene for the DRACO so that their cells would just permanently produce the DRACO, and they would naturally be resistant to almost everything.

Oh, wow. That’s an amazing idea.

Thanks.

I feel like this is something that should be fast-tracked. We have all this planning in regards to epidemics. There is all kinds of scare that we’re ripe for an epidemic.

Perhaps we will be [approached with funding offers] in the future, but so far we haven’t been. We’ve really struggled along for the past 11 years, barely getting enough funding to stay alive.

So this has been on the table, at least as an idea, for 11 years?

Right. We just got good data from the mouse trials and published that, but 11 years ago we started engineering the DRACOs. Genetic engineering was a bit more primative in those days, so it took us a while to actually produce these things. Then it took us a while to produce and test them in cells. We ultimately tested against 15 different viruses in cells. As I said, we were kind of limping along for funding for much of that time, so we could only work on it when we had funding to work on it. For some fraction of our time, we had funding to work on it. Eventually, we were able to test against the 15 different viruses in cells in 11 different cell types. And then we had funding to do some mouse trials, got data, and then we got published.

If you get a cold this winter… are you going to be tempted?

I’m not tempted by colds. I’ve had very bad stomach viruses and I’ve been tempted to give myself the stuff to see what would happen.

You don’t think you’ll do that, though?

It wouldn’t be enough anyway. We only produce enough for mice, and for a human you require a much larger dose than for a 20 gram mouse.

*********

  1. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0022572
  2. http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/antiviral-0810.html

Marked as: ScienceTechnology  —  197 comments   (RSS)

197 Comments so far
  1. TonyDewitt December 8, 2012 12:05 pm

    Hannon,

    Like Matt, if there’s something you need to discuss with me, Im reachable at WoogyModel at Yahoo dot Com.

    Best wishes.

  2. Matt December 9, 2012 9:09 am

    Cure Launcher looks legit. Worth Exploring.

    I’m definitely aligned with looking at and evaluating all of our options so that we can make the best decision. I know there are those that are suffering and are frustrated but we’ll only succeed as a team if we act logically rather than emotionally.

    Having read every comment here, and more information across the web than I would care to admit, I’m confident that we can do something very special here.

    We just need the leadership.. of which i’m hoping Hannon can provide at this stage. We all need tasks and to get organized.

    As Doug should have everyone’s e-mail address i’m hoping he can create the aforementioned Google group so that we can more clearly outline objectives, tasks, press releases, video’s, etc.. Basically we need to start collaborating on work rather than all of this wishy-washy dialogue. I mean no offence in that and realize things take time and questions need to be answered to figure out how to proceed but there needs to be more accountability and organization.

    I.E;
    – Doug and CEB–have Hannon’s questions been positioned to Dr.Rider?
    – Where are we with article? (i’m happy to give it an edit) –jrobinson.matt@gmail.com
    – Where are we with the video? (I don’t do 3-D animation but may be able to help)
    – Do we think we’ll need a website (I can ask around)
    – etc…

    It just seems things need to be made more clear…If I had all of your e-mails I could try and find the right solutions within Google or another service.

    Most importantly, I hope everyone had a great weekend…life is meant to be enjoyed and that’s really what all of this is about– happiness for us and those that suffer from a virus.

  3. doug December 9, 2012 10:05 am

    hi matt — either scott or both scott & I are going to talk to dr. rider this week I believe.
    I went through scott’s paper & i also sent it to a professional editor friend of mine with zero science background to see what he thinks. I’ll get that back from him this evening and I’ll help pitch it out to different publications.
    I’ve got us a great 3d video guy who has agreed to take the project.
    I think we definitely need a website and I hope dr. Rider can check in with us regularly for updates.
    When I’m back to my computer (and not typing on my phone as now) I’ll set up the google group.
    I have a marketing professional reading over the draco material and outlining a marketing plan which I believe she’ll have to me tomorrow.

  4. Matt December 9, 2012 10:12 am

    Thanks for the update..amazing work Doug.

    I’m also in the marketing field and would be happy to collaborate.

  5. Hannon December 9, 2012 10:25 am

    Hi guys,

    I’m here to help in any way possible. My email is hjrasool at gmail dot com (hjrasool@gmail.com) Please add me to your email group. I would like to contribute to the good work already done.

    I’ve read through the comments here and on some other websites. It seems that there are people ready and willing to financially contribute to this cause if we create a place for them to do so.

    As I’ve stated before I’m happy to create a corporation if that is necessary. I think a website is essential. I know, personally, if an organization does not have a website I view it with a bit of skepticism. It’s the time we live in. Also, we need a way for people to donate on the website. That part isn’t too tough if we have a web designer. You can link credit card and/or paypal to it.

    When you speak to Dr. Rider could you please find out more as to the current status as well as what they need? In reviewing his email it seems that funding is certainly key for him but so is additional support. MIT’s facilities may not be sufficient for testing on larger animals. Funding alone will not solve that problem for him. We need an entity with the infrastructure. As far as a timeline goes, funding aside, how long until they outgrow their current facilities?

    I’ve been doing some research and am wondering what, if any, restrictions they have with partnering with other universities. I’ve across unversities which have departments on translational medicine – taking basic research into trials and eventually to patients’ bedsides. Sorry for all the questions but I’m trying to reign in issues.

    In my humble opinion marketing is essential but we need a place where people can financially contribute too. I’m sick and my attention is undivided in this matter but we all know how attention can waiver. We’ve all seen something and been moved or inspired but that fades. I would think we want the initial wave of marketing to inspire people and allow them to donate immediately. We can’t “move” people and then say “wait a few months until we give you a place to donate.”

    I think we need to:

    1. find out exactly what Dr. Rider needs
    2. have the rules on who can partner with Dr. Rider / MIT. I’ll have a coporate attorney review but I need something more than an email from Dr. Rider. It was very useful but I need something formal we can review.

    Thank you,
    Hannon

  6. CogitoErgoBibo December 9, 2012 10:32 am

    Hi Matt,

    I sent my article to the email address you provided.

    Hannon,

    I know what you are getting at. I have helped setup and created ventures in the tech sector and having spent a few years on the VC trail, I have a good sense of what’s needed.

    I’ll be sure to bring up your request with Dr. Rider when Doug and I speak with him. Perhaps he and I can colaborate on an Executive Summary but at the very least a letter of intent from the standpoint of his offer of his teams services in an effort to translate DRACO.

    If anyone would like more information on my background, my personal site is http://www.synpaticsynthase.com

    Take care all,
    Scott
    http://blog.readingthinkingandwriting.com/?p=411

  7. CogitoErgoBibo December 9, 2012 10:34 am

    (and thanks Doug… I am really looking forward to your comments and those of your friend. Please pass along my thanks to him as well)

  8. doug December 9, 2012 11:07 am

    hi hannon — my impression is that, with the proper funding, dr. rider will be able to carry out his research using MIT facilities, but the question of at what point he outgrows those labs is unknown to me now.
    i agree that we need to set up a place where people can donate immediately. it certainly isn’t difficult to set up a website where people can donate using paypal or another 3rd party service, but i know nothing about setting up an organization with financial transparency so that if we attract a much larger investor than your typical paypal investor we can show exactly how much of it (if not the single donation itself, then the aggregate sum of all donations) went to the project. the goal, of course, is 100%, but we may run into circumstances where we simply can’t beg something out of somebody on a pro bono basis and we’ll have to use the funds we have. we need somebody who knows the legalese to put this in our disclaimer.
    also, we have to consider what happens to what we set up in the event that a large biotech company company comes along and wants exclusivity.
    with these things in mind, i think we can still try to aim for having a company set up by the end of this month.

  9. Hannon December 9, 2012 11:19 am

    I think the impetus will be on us to update investors and others on a monthly basis as to how much we’ve raised. I would love it if we can give 100% to MIT. I am willing to put up some money, within reason, to create the corporation. I know there are some incorporation fees we’ll need to pay.

    Before I can get started I need some formal requirements from MIT / Dr. Rider as to what type of corporation or entity can partner with them. When you speak to Dr. Rider (or before) can you get me formal document with their requirements?

    I can set up the corporation and bank account. I want to create some safeguards around the bank account part. There should be a mechanism in which no one person can withdraw from the account. It should require two or more people to authorize a withdrawl or transfer to make sure no one embezzles. I don’t think that would happen but in these types of matters it is best to err on the side of caution.

    -Hannon

  10. TonyDewitt December 9, 2012 11:11 pm

    As I catch up with everything here & on Google documents, I have a few points I’d like to make:

    (1) Hannon – I agree with your “update” idea, and made the same suggestion in my post on the 7th (“monthly status report”). People providing money want regularly periodic news on what’s going on, and potential new investors as well. Whether than happens weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly would be for the researchers to decide.

    (2) Setting up a corporation is VERY easy, it’s been automated on the internet, like everything else. I’ve done it for my ex, and anyone who can visit any popular “set up a corporation” web site can do it as well. Same goes for setting up a web site.

    (3) Great job on the Draco Committee spreadsheet!

    (4) I’m standing by my previous criticism of “funding” sites, I feel that a corporation is the best way to go, both in terms of marketability, credibility, attraction, and most importantly, compatibility – please recall that the by-laws of the college won’t allow a charity to just hand a check over. We need the corporation to be the correct & legal interface to patronizing this research.

    (5) I’ve worked at companies that continue to run on total venture capital (i.e. investor money) and haven’t made a dime to this day (some as old as 8 years). The investors understand up front and fully that the thing they’re investing in is not going to show any profit for the long term, but are willing to sink major money into it to be part of the success when it does finally manifest. I’m taking the time to explain this to everyone because someone wrote that a corporation is a bad idea because investing requires a return on investment, like a bank account, and that’s just not true. Lots of venture capitalists are willing to put millions of dollars into a corporation with a great idea for the long haul, which again underscores the need to have a corporation – these same people with extremely deep pockets aren’t going to turn their cash over the some funding site, but would go balls deep on a corporation dedicated to the same exact purpose.

    In summary, anyone can start a corporation, web site, face book page, etc – and of these are all absolutely necessary. The only high end legal talent we need is to dictate how said corporation correctly interfaces to patronize the research, and how money invested by investors is tracked (by dollars or sold shares). Any lawyer with a venture capitalism background should be able to answer this in seconds, so please anyone who knows anyone like this get us answers.

    Best wishes.

  11. aearl December 10, 2012 5:02 am

    Good morning. I work for Stephen Goldner, President of cureLauncher. It sounds like you all are very passionate about Dr. Rider’s work. cureLauncher works just like kickstarter – but crowdfunds only for NIH level scientists and projects. Just to clarify a few comments above – if Dr. Rider used our service, he would directly receive 91% of all funds raised through our website. Our business receives 6%, and the credit card companies take 3%. Everything is completely transparent. Please visit http://www.curelauncher.com, ‘like’ us on Facebook and follow our projects on Twitter. Please let Dr. Rider know that I can be reached at aearl@cureLauncher.com if you have any questions. Mr. Goldner’s email is sgoldner@cureLauncher.com. Kind regards, Amy Earl, Project Manager

  12. Matt December 10, 2012 7:07 am

    Tony,
    If you believe this to all be so simple than whats stopping you? It should not be hard to find a high end lawyer to answer your questions if all it would take is “seconds”.

    I only speak for myself but I want to ensure everything is done right from the legalities and security of the corporation to the website and marketing to investor relations, etc… There are people dying and suffering and time is of the essence but I am confident in Hannon’s vision and connections to help us create a legitimate corporation (not a 1-click corporation).

    I hope I can find a team to do the website and would push to have real time funding reporting in effect (like KickStarter has). I have built a google group thats in testing but hope we can all collaborate on projects there very soon.

    As far as fundraising..I don’t underestimate the challenges of marketing but I am confident we can raise huge dollars for our corporation especially if it is an investment opportunity. This surely takes some time and organization to setup to make sure it’s secure, legal and insured.

    I understand your frustrations but right now I am incredibly optimistic of this group and the steps that are being taken. It’s great to see.

    Keep up the good work all.

    – Matt

  13. Matt December 10, 2012 8:36 am

    Also, my quick apologies as I created a Google Group having not seen that Doug had beat me to it. I only sent out invites to a couple of you but please ignore as we will be using Dougs group.

    Thanks,

    Matt

  14. TonyDewitt December 10, 2012 10:29 am

    Matt,

    Perhaps you’ve confused me saying that establishing a corporation, web site, etc is easy and that on the other hand, answering questions about corporate / venture capital law requires legal expertise:

    I wrote “Any lawyer with a venture capitalism background should be able to answer this in seconds”.

    That means that *I* am not a lawyer with knowledge of venture capital – that’s what’s stopping me, and the rest of us as well. I hope that answers your question. I also suggested that if we could find such a lawyer we would have said answers.

    Best wishes.

  15. Ivan December 12, 2012 10:14 pm

    I just came across this forum recently. I think Clinton Foundation will be a good source of funding towards DRACO research. Magic Johnson also has a foundation towards funding HIV cure research. As mentioned earlier no opportunity should be left out. I think CureLauncher should be contacted as well as registering the cooperation. This is a great Cause! MIT researchers will need all the money they can lay hands on.

  16. CogitoErgoBibo December 13, 2012 5:54 am

    Thanks, Ivan, for the good info… Several of us have engaged on the process of incorporation and planning.

    Take care,
    Scott
    http://blog.readingthinkingandwriting.com/?p=411

  17. TonyDewitt December 13, 2012 11:42 am

    Ivan,

    All good ideas that you provided there, thanks. From the start it was clear that the only entity that could pass the regulatory requirements for advancing this treatment was, is, and always will be a corporation – I don’t make the rules, but I am good at following them. Please don’t consider this a form of chastisement, but more of a annotation for future readers that a corporation is the *only* interface to moving this research forward. That being the undeniable case, if some savvy legal person can then interface the charities you’ve mentioned to the corporation I’ve mentioned, then everything snaps together nicely. If not, charities are out of the picture. And frankly, I was getting nauseous hearing about kick starter and cure launcher. Those type of profit skimming pseudo charity organizations did nothing for advancing ARF’s HIV vaccine, so the case has been proven.

    Best wishes.

  18. Matt December 13, 2012 5:11 pm

    Cure launcher or KickStarter (we can’t use KickStarter) wouldn’t be the reasons we would fail or why ARF’s HIV vaccine failed. Simply, it’s marketing–telling the right people with the right connections and pulling at the heart strings to ensure they donate.

    Regardless we are going a better route—it will just take more time 🙂

  19. Matt December 13, 2012 5:18 pm

    Of course our website will still resemble a KickStarter project and have the same functionality.
    Our difference-99.9% of the money goes to dr.rider 🙂

    We should all be excited about that—it would be a first really! 🙂

  20. TonyDewitt December 13, 2012 5:18 pm

    Matt,

    Since we can’t use them, that would be equivalent to failure. And ARF’s HIV vaccine is a valid example of how the funding model has failed miserably. Let’s use the facts at hand of what can’t or doesn’t work so we can not waste time and energy.

    Best wishes.

  21. Matt December 13, 2012 5:30 pm

    KickStarter was never a suggestion (KickStarter esque was). We could you cure launcher and be raising funds tomorrow.

    Again, we’re going a better route now but I’m concerned your misguided at the steps and work involved.
    We’ll need to be brilliant to raise the funds needed. I think the key learning from AFR’s vaccine is that rational people would fund aids charities with practical and realistic objectives (I.e; education and condoms in the developing world) rather than a vaccine that likely wont work.

    DRACO stands a chance as its broad spectrum and we may get the $5 dollars from loads of people who recall that nasty stomach virus. Beyond that we’ll get the $50’s from your HSV,HIV,HTLV,HCV,etc… Sufferers. Our marketing will try and frame this rather than an HTLV and HIV cure…though HIV will be a definite focus for PR.

  22. TonyDewitt December 13, 2012 5:54 pm

    Matt,

    Actually mentioning approaches that can’t or haven’t worked is what I consider to be misguided. For example, you jumped the shark on the proof that charity funding doesn’t work by saying it was the fault that the particular therapy (in this case a vaccine) won’t likely work – bad move on your part, especially if you’re wrong. By “thine own words”, you are practically dooming your own effort. In other words, I’m sure the ARF people wouldn’t appreciate your pessimism anymore than Doctor Rider would if someone said his approach likely won’t work. Try flying straight at the problem with what works instead of what doesn’t or can’t work, and incurring bad karma along the way.

    Best wishes.

  23. Matt December 13, 2012 6:02 pm

    I was suggesting how the public viewed ARF’s vaccine and will probably view DRACO–a long shot not worth tossing money away at(the valley of death). It’s wise we know this so we can evolve our approach. I hopeDRACO does work…I’m counting on it. Not pessimistic at all.

    Personally I’m not sure what you’re currently bringing to the table either than providing such distractions as this ‘misunderstanding’ of a debate.
    Put in the work other than constantly providing flawed information and guidance. None of us are experts in this…we need you to be a work horse as you have the most at stake.

    I’m trying to help!

  24. CogitoErgoBibo December 13, 2012 6:23 pm

    In my opinion we can’t just go Kickstarter clone. We can’t look like some guys who want people to fund their movie about tree frog mating habits. 🙂

    Yes, we are expecting to pull in the grassroots funding… however, there are big time, and very serious organizations that fund AIDS research. If we don’t eminate the level of competance we possess with the corporations name and the web site, we could end up cutting off some sources…

  25. Matt December 13, 2012 6:49 pm

    Makes sense to me CEB.

    I’m coming from a position where I work with high level graphic designers and programmers who I’m asking to design a free website. I’ll develop an SRS but it’d be nice to provide very clear direction in the form of a ‘model’ site. It wouldn’t be a clone…just similar unless there are other sites we like.

  26. CogitoErgoBibo December 13, 2012 6:56 pm

    Indeed Matt…

    I’ve worked with the same kind of people for almost 20 years and I am champion of well defined and formally expressed requirements.

    We just have to grab the functionality you have located, add/subtract to it if necessary and then put it into a form that is more aligned with our efforts.

  27. CogitoErgoBibo December 13, 2012 7:10 pm

    Actually, I just looked around the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation site (it had been while since I had seen it)…

    There are good ideas for functionality there as well… “Share your Story”, for example, is a great idea. It would be great if the site because a community meeting place…

  28. Hannon December 13, 2012 9:16 pm

    Thanks for the comments Ivan. As others have mentioned we’re working towards getting this funded and believe it could help countless numbers of people.

    Kickstarter and CureLauncher are most likely not the best options for us but if the other organizations which you mentioned are able to provide funding either directly to MIT or via our corporation that would be great.

    The more funding we can ultimately get to Dr. Rider the better!

    Thanks for the interest.
    -Hannon

  29. Ivan December 13, 2012 10:23 pm

    Tony,
    I had read most of the inputs from you all. And your statement below
    “That being the undeniable case, if some savvy legal person can then interface the charities you’ve mentioned to the corporation I’ve mentioned, then everything snaps together nicely.” is exactly what I had in mind when I mentioned other foundations. This would be the most appropriate route to raise money fast. The cooperation will have to approach these other charity foundations for funding.

  30. TonyDewitt December 14, 2012 11:21 am

    Ivan,

    Thank you! I am relieved that we are on the same wavelength.

    Best wishes.

  31. glenronach January 7, 2013 8:25 am

    Hello to all of you!
    I have been reading this discussion for while. And I am just shocked with the whole story!
    Such a genius as a Dr.Rider have to able to work on great human problems such as
    HIV , CANCER and you name it. And have UNLIMITED amount of funding while he is young and capable to produce ideas. It’s a shame that it’s going at such slow pace.
    Please , guys come up with something , so we can donate money. I am middle class guy ready to donate up to 500-1000 dollars per year and can recruit many of my friends to do the same. Donation through the Pay Pal would be great.
    P.S. Don’t you think that you can talk with GOOGLE guys, they are MIT alumni as well. And they have some money ( i can assume).
    P.S> Can we talk with Amazon guys. I would like to see the button when I am buying something on Amazon-‘Donate money to dr.Rider reaserch[view details] ”
    I would donate money like there is NO TOMORROW.
    ready to donate – Eugene.

  32. CogitoErgoBibo January 10, 2013 6:06 pm

    Hello all,

    My article is complete… http://blog.readingthinkingandwriting.com/?p=500

    No professional edit, but I think I was pretty thorough. Dr. Rider read it early on and like what he read, so hopefully it will be well received.

    Take care,
    Scott

  33. TonyDewitt January 10, 2013 6:10 pm

    Scott,

    Thank you for the article, and I am happy that Doctor Rider liked what read.

    Best wishes.

  34. redoak14 February 18, 2013 10:50 am

    First of all, great work everyone who has contributed to jump starting this process. Much appreciated! Are there any updates on where one can go to donate? Or any updates from Dr Rider on his research?

  35. Ivan March 30, 2013 11:14 am

    Now that Bill Gates wants to fund development of condoms, we can attempt to contact him on this issue. Even though “prevention is better than cure,”
    in this case however, it is better to fund cure than prevention. Could anyone please inform us on the progress so far with the formation of the corporation talked about? Thanks

  36. Hannon March 31, 2013 8:33 am

    We have encountered some hurdles in creating a corporation. We are currently looking at Medstartr as an option to fund DRACO. We still want to see this happen so are pursuing both options.

    As of this moment, we need to review the CRADA from MIT to ensure Medstartr is a viable option. We’ll then go from there.

    -Hannon

  37. CogitoErgoBibo March 31, 2013 6:17 pm

    Hi Ivan,

    No doubt you are correct! It’s baffling that the Gates foundation would proceed that way.

    I began work on a paper that will describe why DRACO looks like it will stop an HIV infection. I am waiting on Dr. Rider, who is busy on grant apps, to get back to me on my approach.

    As to the CRADA, Dr. Rider sent me the contact info and I sent a request for the information last week. She was out during the beginning of the week, but did not get back to me when she returned. I will call Tuesday (and then escalate if necessary) if I don’t see anything by then.

    Just goes to show… you don’t need a conspiracy when people can read about what looks like it most likely be a historic end to viral infections, and yet they do next to nothing.

    (in case you missed above) By the way, if you can spread the work, I wrote an article that Dr. Rider reviewed… it describes, not only DRACO, but also gives a lay presentation on the molecular biology behind it.

    Please spread it as wide as you can… the more attention there is on it, the more likely something will get done… this is one hell of a squeaky wheel 😉

    http://blog.readingthinkingandwriting.com/?p=500

    Take care,
    Scott

  38. Ivan April 4, 2013 12:50 pm

    Thanks Hannon and Scott. I will definitely spread the word as much as I could. I read your article Scott. I thought it was wonderful. I had gone as far as writing the president about Dr. Riders work. No replies, off course. This is however not the time to give up. Let me know what else I can do.

    John.

  39. CogitoErgoBibo April 4, 2013 6:21 pm

    Thank you Ivan, it took quite a bit of research since I’m focused on targeted cancer therapies. Both Doug and I have our lawyers working on getting the company setup so we’ll keep everyone informed. I have a meeting with mine tomorrow morning (a good friend and brilliant mind).

    If you can find articles discussing viral infection such as the one on NBC News this morning, and post a link to my article that would be helpful. So far, with that type of action (and someone posting it to “hacker news” which was HUGE), a few thousand people have read it… and several people have offered to help, and two sent letters to the Gates Foundation.

    I will keep doing what I’m doing, but, as I mentioned, I don’t care by whom it gets done… just that it gets done right and people’s lives benefit.

  40. killersoft May 5, 2013 7:39 pm

    Just spotted this link for some DRACO information :
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/worldnews/horizons-fighting-disease.html

    Any luck with a startup company to help sponser Dr Rider’s work ?

  41. Matt May 26, 2013 5:01 am

    As a very quick update. We do now have a facebook page-> https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-DRACO-Fund/463390007079550?fref=ts

    Please do like it. This page will only supplement our donation site which is currently in progress.

    Thanks,

    Matt

  42. CogitoErgoBibo March 5, 2014 7:52 pm

    Dr.Rider told me that DRACO has been nominated for the 2013 Katerva Award inthe Human Development category!

    It is also eligible for the people’schoice award for which voting will be open from March 7th to March28th.

    Please use every means you can think of to get the word out to as many people as possible that they should VOTE as often as the rules allowed!

    http://katerva.net/home/accelerate/human-development/human-development-2013/

  43. CogitoErgoBibo August 4, 2014 6:42 pm

    The Draco Fund is now officially a company. While we are not setup to accept donations on the site just yet (and are in the process of filing for tax-exempt status), please visit our site and click Join Us so we can let you know when we are ready.

    Thank you…

    http://www.thedracofund.org

  44. RohanSJ August 4, 2014 10:55 pm

    Unfortunately it isn’t possible to “Join Us” at thedracofund.org with a non-USA address, as “State” is required.

  45. CogitoErgoBibo August 5, 2014 12:32 pm

    My apologies… we’re working on it.

  46. CogitoErgoBibo August 13, 2014 6:31 pm

    Everyone can now register on TheDracoFund.org,, our apologies for not having provisions for people outside the U.S. at the onset, but we are ready now. Please encourage everyone to register by clicking “Join Us”. We are in the process of getting our tax exempt status filing done and having the ability to donate on the web site added. We would like to be able to let everyone know when we are ready. Please post the link to our site everywhere appropriate.

    http://www.thedracofund.org

    Thank you!

  47. CogitoErgoBibo October 29, 2014 10:50 am

    We are very excited to announce that The Draco Fund is now accepting donations! Also, we have been granted non-profit status by the IRS so your donations will now be tax deductible. All donations, large and small, will aid in moving DRACO research forward and will be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for your patience, kind words of encouragement, and continued support! You can view how your donation will be used here.

    http://www.thedracofund.org

    Don’t forget to click “Return to The Draco Fund” on the PayPal “Donation Complete” page to give us a chance to say thank you and an opportunity for you to share the news of your generosity with others.

    Thank you,

    Scott Tarone
    President
    The Draco Fund

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