ICES - PEMF RESEARCH PLANS 2016 (with a review of 2015) Posted on 18 Jan 07:55


In the beginning of 2015 I posted my research and development plans for ICES DigiCeutical® technology which included several areas.  I'll begin by reviewing each of these:

DIABETES:  This remains an area of active interest.  I am meeting with diabetes researchers to develop experiment protocols to test the efficacy of ICES on suppressing or reversing the development of Type I (juvenile) diabetes.  The working hypothesis is that ICES suppresses inflammation in such a way that autoimmune damage to cells and tissues is minimized. This mechanism of inflammatory suppression is another topic of research, and clearly is different from the mechanism of aspirin and NSAIDs in general because if the mechanisms were identical, aspirin would be a lot more effective at promoting tissue recovery.  The line of thinking we are developing goes like this: If ICES can suppress inflammation in the pancreas during the period where islet cells (cells in the pancreas that produce insulin) are destroyed by a putative autoimmune mechanism, then it might be possible to "rescue" the person in a pre-diabetic state by preventing the full-blown development of type I diabetes.  Some autoimmune diseases afflict primarily people in specific age ranges, and often the autoimmune response subsides over time, so the strategy is to prevent the destruction of islet cells using ICES for long enough that the autoimmune response subsides, thus allowing the person to essentially "grow out of" the phase where their autoimmune system attacks their islet cells.  Further, by suppressing inflammation during the pre-diabetic phase, it is hoped that (1) the body will learn to better tolerate the autoimmune trigger caused by the islet cells, and (2) pancreatic stem cells will be better able to regenerate and maintain the population of islet cells.  This is based upon the results from my early NASA work on PEMF and subsequent work with stem cell companies in the private sector.

SPINAL CORD INJURY:  I had applied for the Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP) in late 2014 and was invited to submit a full proposal to the US Army, which was reviewed in mid 2015.  The proposal involved a comprehensive experiment to be conducted in Finland by a third-party independent laboratory, using ICES technology, on a spinal cord injury model.  The proposal was very well reviewed but narrowly missed the mark for funding.  This is typical: the vast majority of grant proposals are not funded.  Currently the success rate for NIH awards floats between about 3% and 5%, which means that a typical grant has a 95% chance of getting rejected.  This is why most academic researchers are, in reality, nothing more than professional grant writers.  They pretty much have to write grants full time to have even a slim chance of getting funding.  And the minute they get a grant awarded... they start writing the next grant proposal in the hopes that they will get more funding before their current funding runs out in 3 or 4 years.  It's a horrible grind that serves no one and clearly does not yield a lot of genuine cures for serious diseases.  And everyone in the system knows it.  Rejecting this dysfunctional system, I take a different path: I only write grant proposals infrequently, and only when I am in a strong position to do so.  The result; I have a track record of over 50% success in grant funding.  I was on the fence in terms of how to fund the spinal cord injury research because it will require (only!) $185,000 (USD) to have the entire experiment conducted in an independent research laboratory in 46 days.  This one experiment would firmly establish ICES as effective, or not, for the treatment of primary and secondary injury to the spinal cord.  Through the NIH, a similar but weaker experiment would have cost at least $1M (USD) and would take at least 4 years, or longer.  Having narrowly failed with my attempt to get public/military research funding, and admittedly not being very excited about public funds for important research anyway, my strategy now is to seek private (donor) funding for the research, or to fund it myself from my own sources of revenue, or most likely a combination of private + personal funds.  Anyone who wishes to contribute to this effort should contact us.

ARTHRITIS and CHRONIC PAIN:  I have set up two collaborations to test the efficacy of ICES for the treatment of arthritis and chronic pain in private orthopedic clinics.  Setting up such studies is a lengthy process, but with luck we should be able to begin this work in late 2016.

INFLAMMATION:  The results from the independent research laboratory studies on the effect of ICES on acute injury are very clear and robust:  ICES definitely reduces inflammation.  I am working with my co-authors to publish this study.  This naturally leads down two different paths: clinical studies and basic scientific research on the underlying cell signalling mechanisms of inflammation that are modulated by ICES.

CELL SIGNALLING MECHANISMS:  The reason for studying the cellular mechanisms of ICES (and all other forms of PEMF) is that if we understand how it works, we can keep improving it.  If ICES or PEMF in general only works because of a lucky guess, then we can't do much to improve it except to continue to keep taking guesses and hope for the best.  This is a problem, because there are about a quadrillion different possible ways to apply PEMF, so the method of just taking a guess is far less likely to yield a good result even than playing the lottery.  My preference: science.  This is a perfect opportunity to apply the powerful tools of the scientific method.  Here, in broad brush strokes, is an outline of the plan I have been developing throughout 2015 and will continue to work on in 2016:

1- Develop a non-invasive, real-time biomarker for inflammation

2- Use this biomarker to optimize refinement of ICES technology and protocols

3- Develop new techniques to measure cell signalling, to elucidate the underlying cellular mechanisms of ICES/PEMF.

Let's step back and take a moment.  Any legitimate scientist would look at the above and conclude that I am a total crackpot, not because these are the wrong objectives, but rather because taken together they are far too grand in scope to ever be achieved in a single lifetime, or by a single person.  Most scientists would say it is simply impractical.  Certainly it is beyond the scope of anything that could possible be funded by public grant mechanisms.  When I discuss these topics with most academic scientists their eyes gloss over and they start playing with their iPhones.  But I have made investments in scientific infrastructure that will allow me, over the course of years, to make substantial headway on this important work, free from the capricious nature of academia and publicly funded research.



In addition to continuing the work as described above, several new opportunities have arisen that will take a front seat in 2016:

Concussion and mTBI:  In collaboration with my colleague Mark Tommerdahl, we have won major funding from the US Navy for the development of our brain testing system:  the Cortical Metrics BrainGauge.  We are currently developing clinical pilot studies in various locations to test the effectiveness of ICES in the treatment of concussion and mTBI.

Crowd-sourced medical research:  I am working with colleagues to develop a new format for crowd-sourced medical research.  The concept here is to empower people to take part in the development of the breakthrough technologies that they need, and to communicate their findings collectively for the public benefit.

As always, please feel free to contact us on these and other topics of importance to you.


Bob Dennis