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Media Contact:
Tara DiMilia, 908-947-0500, tara.dimilia@TMstrat.com

Lyme Disease Biobank Expands Into San Diego

Legislative Commendations Support Importance of New Collection Site’s Efforts To Elevate Research

San Diego, CA, March 6, 2020—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the U.S., announces the opening of the San Diego collection site of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s Lyme Disease Biobank, which is the first program to provide researchers with blood and urine samples from people with early Lyme disease from multiple endemic regions across the country. Congressman Scott Peters and Council member Chris Cate are scheduled to speak at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new collection site, and Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry, Senator Toni Atkins, and Assembly member Todd Gloria will send representatives to issue commendations to support this event.

“Lyme disease is a growing problem in the County of San Diego, because many of our residents travel to or relocate from other more highly endemic areas and it is also possible to be infected locally,” said Sharon Wampler, PhD, who was instrumental in bringing Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s Lyme Disease Biobank to San Diego. “As a world-class hub for research and innovation, we can be part of the solution. This biobank is an important resource which will help researchers answer many current scientific questions about tick-borne diseases.”

Much research into tick-borne infections is needed, as current diagnostics are inaccurate for more than half of early stage Lyme disease cases, treatments do not work for everyone and late stage Lyme disease can become nearly impossible to cure. In fact, a recent study based on the samples collected by the Lyme Disease Biobank and published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology, found that the Centers for Disease Control’s standard two-tier testing algorithm for Lyme disease failed to accurately diagnose 71% of blood samples from individuals in endemic areas presenting with a Lyme rash, also known as an erythema migrans, greater than 5 cm. In striving to investigate better diagnostics and treatments for tick-borne diseases, researchers require verified blood, urine and tissue samples to use in their studies.

Currently, there are 50 research projects that rely on Lyme Disease Biobank samples. The San Diego collection center will be in partnership with Osteopathic Medical Associates of San Diego (OMASD).

“As Lyme disease grows in prevalence, we are seeing more people looking to make a difference for current and future patients, and our biobank offers a valuable way for the public to support researchers who are working to find solutions,” said Liz Horn, PhD, principal investigator, Lyme Disease Biobank. “We are honored to be able to give people from San Diego the opportunity to contribute to this important initiative.”

The Lyme Disease Biobank in San Diego will collect from people who have ongoing symptoms of Lyme disease. Importantly, because bacterial strains of tick-borne diseases have been shown to vary from region to region, a biobank in San Diego will allow researchers to explore potential new diagnostics against the range of bacterial strains prevalent in people with Lyme disease in San Diego, along with those from other parts of the country.

San Diego residents are also invited to register for the Biobank’s tissue collection program. This program allows for a greater understanding of the ability of Lyme bacteria to invade tissues and organs. The Lyme Disease Biobank is the only national entity working to accelerate research by collecting surgical and post-mortem tissue samples from individuals with persistent Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections.

Also in support of Lyme disease research such as this, community members will come together tonight, Friday, March 6th for Ride Out Lyme California at SoulCycle in La Jolla.

About Lyme Disease Biobank
The Lyme Disease Biobank (LDB), a program of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, is a non-profit organization working to accelerate research of Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections. With a collection of biological samples from more than 900 participants, including serum, blood, urine and tissue, LDB provides much-needed samples to researchers working to better understand tick-borne diseases and develop improved tests and therapeutics. Blood and urine samples are collected from the Northeast, Upper Midwest and West Coast areas of the U.S., and tissue samples are collected throughout the country.

Healthcare providers looking to get involved, and patients interested in donating blood, urine or tissue samples can learn more here.

Researchers interested in obtaining samples should visit www.lymebiobank.org or contact info@lymebiobank.org.

About Lyme Disease
The most common vector-borne infectious disease in the country, Lyme disease is a potentially disabling infection caused by bacteria transmitted through the bite of an infected tick to people and pets. 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 more than 400,000 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 a leading public not-for-profit sponsor of innovative Lyme disease research in the U.S. A 501c3 non-profit 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 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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Contact:
Tara DiMilia
Phone: 908-884-7024
Tara.DiMilia@tmstrat.com

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