1. What does ImYoo do?
ImYoo’s vision is to equip the world’s largest patient driven biodiscovery ecosystem. To achieve that, we are starting with building a platform which allows  people to participate in immune studies that are most relevant to them. Our goal is to address the questions that are most pertinent to people’s unique biologies and peculiarities. In the case of autoimmune diseases, it might be understanding what a sustainable remission looks like or which drugs work for some people and not others. During a study, we provide individuals with kits to self-collect samples, such as capillary blood, and have the study participants send them back to ImYoo for processing and analysis.

 

2. What does it look like to participate in an ImYoo study?Working together with the patient community, our goal is to design research that is directly relevant and actionable to the study participants. ImYoo studies employ a crowdfunding model, where individuals can support the research in various ways: participation, funding, and/or spreading the word. Effectively, ImYoo pilots mini projects that test out the patients’ ideas with input from clinicians. Ultimately, our goal is to work at a faster pace than academia and pharma by delivering actionable insights in a relatively shorter time frame. 

 

3. What makes an ImYoo study different from a clinical trial?We’ll post our studies on the ImYoo website, where you can enroll in the research that matters to you. If you’re a good fit for the study, we’ll mail you our sample collection kits; they’re virtually painless and easy to use. For example, an ImYoo study on flares may ask you to sample a few times when you feel great and a few times when you’re flaring. To mail your sample to us, we’ll provide you with the package and postage. 

 

4. How does ImYoo promote inclusive research?

Many groups are underrepresented in clinical research, which can have negative consequences when they seek treatment. One major obstacle is that clinical trial sites are located too far from participants’ homes. By allowing participants to self-collect their samples from home, ImYoo aims to include more patients who would otherwise be excluded from scientific research.

 
 

5. How do I use the sample collection device and how is it virtually painless?

ImYoo is leveraging YourBio Health’s  capillary blood self-collection device called TAP II. With a gentle adhesive, the device sticks to your arm. After you press down on the plunger, the device feels like a suction cup. It barely penetrates the inner layer of your skin in order to draw out a small blood sample (100-300 microliters) in a matter of minutes. None of our prior participants have communicated significant discomfort from using the TAP II device for capillary blood self-collection. 

Immediately after collecting your sample, we ask that you shake the tube before mailing it to us in the provided packaging to prevent the blood from clotting. On your arm, you may see a faint mark smaller than a dime, but this fades for most people in a matter of days. 

6. What happens with the data collected after I have participated in a study?

Our studies would be conducted under the protocol of an Institutional Review Board (IRB). This ethics board reviews our studies to ensure that you’re safe and your rights are preserved. 

We anonymize your data, so that it can't be traced back to your identity. In accordance with the IRB, we will return to you as much insightful information as we can. Data privacy laws pose significant obstacles to us returning individual results, especially when that data is collected with new technologies! We believe you should own your data and we are committed to fighting for those rights. We appreciate your understanding as we fight this battle to return novel data to the study participants.

 

7. How is your test different from a standard blood test?

Most of the standard blood tests that your doctor orders look at the proteins in your blood. Those tests can tell you what’s wrong with you, but they don’t always explain the underlying reason. For example, your antibody levels may be elevated, but what’s the cause?

More powerful tests attempt to answer this question by sequencing your DNA, but they also fall short. While they provide a high-level view of your genetic code, they don’t fully explain how your DNA produces dysfunctional proteins. 

What bridges that gap between DNA and proteins? RNA, which changes in response to your environment, time-of-day, or diet. Some of these factors are in your control, which is why we believe single-cell RNA sequencing can get you actionable insights. We measure your RNA, because we recognize your body is always changing and we want to understand why. 

 

8. What is RNA sequencing & why does ImYoo use single-cell RNA sequencing?

Traditional "bulk" RNA sequencing counts the number of RNA molecules produced by each gene in a sample. With single cell RNA sequencing it is possible to count the number of RNA molecules in individual cells in a sample, instead of summing all the cells together. Thus, "bulk" RNA sequencing is akin to a fruit smoothie, where you taste the combined flavors, but cannot discern its composition. Single-cell RNA sequencing reveals the recipe for each cellular smoothie— the exact number of berries, bananas, etc. We measure the proteins produced by each immune cell, preserving its unique signal that would otherwise be lost in the "cell smoothie".

 

Can you sing me a song?

Yes.