Why is it that Lyme disease is so little understood, so hard to diagnose, and so frustratingly difficult to get treated? Such were the questions discussed last night at the first of the new Bay Area Lyme Foundation Speaker Series talks.
2014 Emerging Leader Award recipient Jerome Bouquet, PhD, UCSF, began the program with a compelling overview of the history of Lyme disease and its pathology, highlighting some of the complicated attributes of the Lyme-causing spirochete and the manifestations of its infection. He touched on promising new technologies like the Tick Chip and the IBIS-developed Iridica, which use unbiased DNA amplification and multiplex assays with greater sensitivity (and more immediate results) than traditional methods. He also described promising developments in transcriptomics that have illustrated the lingering effects of the disease up to six months after treatment, and
New Study Reveals Ticks in Bay Area Carry Larger Diversity of Bacteria Than Expected and May Help Explain Why Lyme Disease Symptoms Vary Widely Among Bay Area Patients
Rates of tick infection with Borrelia miyamotoi are found to be higher in the Bay Area than previously documented on East Coast, and Tick-borne disease infection risk is shown to be higher in Redwood habitats than previously believed
SILICON VALLEY, Calif., August 19, 2015 — Bay Area Lyme Foundation, which is working to make Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, highlights a new Bay Area studyconducted by researchers from Stanford and Northern Arizona Universities documenting a vast diversity of bacterial species and strains that cause tick-borne diseases in Bay Area residents and visitors.The variety of bacterial species and strains identified may be the reason that Bay Area patients with tick-borne diseases experience a wide range of symptoms, which may or may not include flu-like complaints, joint pain, fatigue and a rash of differing shapes, thereby making exact diagnoses extremely difficult.
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.
“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.
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 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.
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.
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.