FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bay Area Lyme Foundation Researcher Validates New Approach to Overcome Challenges of Lyme Disease Diagnosis in the Lab
Using samples from the Lyme Disease Biobank, Raman spectroscopy is identified as a potentially more sensitive test for diagnosing Lyme disease
Portola Valley, CA, February 9, 2023 — Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, today announced results of a laboratory study published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology that identifies Raman spectroscopy as a promising diagnostic approach for Lyme disease, a condition that affects nearly 500,000 new patients annually. Conducted by one of Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s Emerging Leader Award winners, Artem Rogovskyy, PhD, DVM, along with researchers from Texas A&M University, the study identified Borrelia infection with 88% accuracy, 85% sensitivity, and 90% specificity using Raman spectroscopy, a light-based test commonly used in chemistry labs, to evaluate human blood samples provided by Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s Lyme Disease Biobank.
“By identifying a unique spectrum fingerprint to detect Lyme borreliosis faster, Raman spectroscopy has the potential to diagnose the disease earlier,” said Dr. Rogovskyy, associate professor of Veterinary Pathobiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University. “We hope that developing an effective, robust, and rapid diagnostic test will help overcome current challenges in Lyme disease diagnosis.”
The study aims to address the immediate need for more sensitive diagnostics in Lyme disease as the current gold standard diagnostic has been shown to be insensitive in up to 60% of early-stage patients and up to 30% of late-stage patients.
“The lack of an accurate diagnostic test is not only a challenge for clinicians trying to properly diagnose and treat patients, but also makes clinical trials for new treatments difficult,” said Linda Giampa, executive director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation. “Our hope is that new approaches like this one will allow for early detection and treatment of all patients with Lyme disease.”
Dr. Rogovskyy’s team is in the process of validating the test through additional studies and has plans to conduct a clinical study in the next two years.
This study was made possible by the 2020 Bay Area Lyme Foundation Emerging Leader Award, and the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Insect Vector Disease Seed Grant. Project Lyme also donated to this effort through the support of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation research grant program.
About the Emerging Leader Award
The Emerging Leader Awards, initiated in 2014 and given annually, are designed to support promising scientists and the development of their research into improved diagnostics and therapeutics for Lyme disease. Applications for the 2023 Emerging Leader Award are being accepted through February 15, 2023 at 11:59pm Pacific Time. The full criteria and application for this award can be found at https://www.bayarealyme.org/our-research/emerging-leader-award/https://www.bayarealyme.org/our-research/emerging-leader-award/.
About Lyme disease
The most common vector-borne infectious disease in the US, Lyme disease is a potentially disabling infection caused by bacteria transmitted through the bite of an infected tick to people and pets. It can also be transmitted transplacentally. If caught early, most cases of Lyme disease can be effectively treated, but it is commonly misdiagnosed due to lack of awareness and unreliable diagnostic tests. There are almost 500,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year, according to statistics released in 2018 by the CDC. As a result of the difficulty in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, more than one million Americans may be suffering from the impact of its debilitating long-term symptoms and complications, according to Bay Area Lyme Foundation estimates.
About Bay Area Lyme Foundation
Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a national organization committed to making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, is the leading public not-for-profit sponsor of innovative Lyme disease research in the US. A 501c3 organization based in Silicon Valley, Bay Area Lyme Foundation collaborates with world-class scientists and institutions to accelerate medical breakthroughs for Lyme disease. It is also dedicated to providing reliable, fact-based information so that prevention and the importance of early treatment are common knowledge. A pivotal donation from The LaureL STEM FUND covers overhead costs and allows for 100% of all donor contributions to the Bay Area Lyme Foundation to go directly to research and prevention programs. For more information about Lyme disease or to get involved, visit www.bayarealyme.org or call us at 650-530-2439.
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