Bay Area Lyme Foundation Awards Grant to Harvard Medical School Researchers for Development of an Accurate Test for Lyme Disease

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

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Awards Grant to Harvard Medical School Researchers for Development of an Accurate Test for Lyme Disease

2015 Emerging Leader Award Seeks to Accelerate Scientific Solutions for Lyme Disease

PORTOLA VALLEY, CA — Bay Area Lyme Foundation, the leading national nonprofit funder of innovative Lyme disease research, today announced that the winners of its 2015 Emerging Leader Award, are collaborators Nira Pollock, MD, PhD, and John Branda, MD. The $100,000 grant that accompanies this award will support their research on a potential biomarker for Lyme disease, which may lead to the development of a novel urine test for early Lyme disease. The most commonly used diagnostic for Lyme disease, the two-tier serological ELISA/Western Blot process, misses up to 60% of cases of early stage Lyme.

Interview with Emerging Leader Award Recipient Jerome Bouquet

Jerome Bouquet_20141030_162125_256“Lyme is a debilitating illness for which diagnosis is critical for cure.” –Dr. Jerome Bouquet

Jerome Bouquet, PhD, was recognized in May 2014 as an Emerging Leader in the field of Lyme research. This award recognizes creative ingenuity and novel approaches for the development of better diagnostics and treatment for Lyme disease. The award also carries a $100,000 project grant to fund a new research initiative. Here, Dr. Bouquet talks about his work in the field and his funded project, “Development of a Host Biomarker Assay for the Diagnosis of Acute and Post-Treatment Lyme Disease.”

Q: Earlier this year, you were recognized by Bay Area Lyme Foundation as one of the Emerging Leaders in the field of Lyme disease research.  Tell us about your project, what do you hope to accomplish?

A:The project emerged as a result of (1) the lack of sensitive diagnostics for Lyme disease; and (2) the expertise of our laboratory in next generation sequencing. We are developing the unbiased detection of a large number of pathogens. But Lyme disease is trickier, because Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria responsible for the disease, is only transiently present in the blood at low titer. So instead of looking for the pathogen, we are examining the human host at a cellular level. How do immune cells respond to the infection and how can we decode and measure their response? That’s what transcriptome profiling is.

2014: A Year in Review

It is that time of year when we reflect and take stock of all that’s happened over the past 12 months – the highs and the highlights and what it portends for the year ahead. As we quickly approach the close of 2014, we are proud of the progress that has been made and grateful to all those who helped create greater awareness, understanding, and discovery around Lyme disease, its agents, and its progression. It has been a year of collaboration and innovation across the research field with promising developments for new treatments and diagnostics

Clinicians & Researchers Gather to Discuss Science of Lyme Disease

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

Clinicians, Researchers Gather in Boston to Discuss Science of Lyme Disease — Conference Unites Lyme Disease Research Community

Boston, MA — A national scientific conference entitled “Lyme Borreliosis and Tick-Borne Illnesses: Diagnostics, Emerging Pathogens and Avenues for New Research,” brought a broad range of researchers and clinicians to Boston November 8 and 9 to discuss tick-borne diseases, share emerging ideas and knowledge, and assess the most promising avenues for research into the future. Held at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the conference drew more than 200 people from across the country and around the world intent on collaborating through the power of science to find answers to some of the most complex and often-misunderstood diseases. The two-day forum, to which the Bay Area Lyme Foundation provided an unrestricted educational grant, also featured the presentation of awards recognizing several scientists for their contributions to the understanding and treatment of Lyme disease.

Interview with ELA Recipient Lisa Blum

Lisa Blum is an enterprising young scientist and postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University School of Medicine, working in the lab of Dr. Bill Robinson. Earlier this year she was recognized as a Bay Area Lyme Foundation Emerging Leader and received a $100,000 project grant. Here she talks about her research, life at Stanford, and the impact of the award.  

2014 Blum ELA picture Resized_156

Q: Earlier this year, your project, “Sequencing of Antibody Responses to Borrelia burgdorferi Infection — Generation of Recombinant Antibodies with Diagnostic and Therapeutic Utility” helped earn you recognition as a Bay Area Lyme Emerging Leader.  Tell us about your project and what you hope to accomplish.

Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system that protect us from infections, but in some cases the antibodies themselves can damage the human body. Our goal is to characterize antibodies produced during different stages of Lyme disease, and to generate monoclonal antibodies that can be used to improve on existing Lyme disease treatments and diagnosis.