How Do You Build a Biobank to Solve the Problem of Lyme Disease? Literally – One Tick Bite at a Time

Lyme Disease Biobank

Written by: Jo Ellis, Bay Area Lyme Volunteer and Supporter

Science is all about asking questions and finding answers. It attracts the curious, the driven, the questioners and fact seekers—the people who won’t accept the status quo and who are always pushing to learn more. If we keep asking science the right questions, we’re bound to get to the right answers eventually. It’s simple, right?

Unfortunately, not. As with everything about Lyme disease the answers to the questions are not so simple. Lyme is a complicated, nuanced disease with many challenging attributes, so much so that even the most experienced clinicians and medical researchers struggle to understand the many ways the infection impacts the human body. So, if you’re going to try and solve the puzzle of Lyme disease, where is the best place to start? How do you get all the pieces in place to move the needle to solve the complexity of this disease?

Enter Bay Area Lyme Foundation and Principal Investigator, Liz Horn PhD, MBI. When they were planning this project, they asked research scientists in the field of Lyme disease what were their big obstacles to finding out more about Lyme? What did scientists need so that they could start chipping away at the conundrum of this horrible disease?

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Partners with American Junior Golf Association to Provide Critical Education About Tick-borne Disease

Golfers are at high risk for Lyme disease

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

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Partners with American Junior Golf Association to Provide Critical Education About Tick-borne Disease

Golf is Estimated to Be Among the Highest Risk Sports for Contracting Lyme and Other Tick-borne Diseases

Portola Valley, CA, July 15, 2021 — Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, and the American Junior Golf Association have announced a new partnership aimed at educating young golfers about Lyme disease and providing tips for preventing tick bites. For this partnership, Bay Area Lyme Foundation will provide prevention materials, tick removal keys, Tick Tock Naturals® organic tick repellent and Sawyer® picaridin lotion to all AJGA members. In addition, Bay Area Lyme Foundation will become a Leadership Links charity partner, and two tournaments will be named for the Foundation by the end of 2023.

“As former AJGA and Harvard Division 1 golfers, my brother and I wish we had been educated on the risks associated with Lyme disease and the prevalence of ticks throughout the U.S., and ways to prevent being bitten,” said Nina Fairbairn (AJGA ’13, Harvard ’17), an investment partner who volunteers for Bay Area Lyme Foundation as an Advisory Board member and is spearheading this partnership for the Foundation. “Few golfers seem aware of the risks and even fewer take precautions, and it’s imperative for us to change this.”

Golf courses are a hotbed for ticks that can carry Lyme disease. Ticks flourish in areas between woods and open spaces, which is the exact terrain of golf courses, and live on the small forest animals that often occupy golf courses. Lyme disease is the most common vector borne illness in the United States with at least 476,000 new cases each year.

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Selects National Winners of the 2021 Emerging Leader Awards to Advance Research for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Lyme Disease

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

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Selects National Winners of the 2021 Emerging Leader Awards to Advance Research for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Lyme Disease

Brandon Jutras, PhD of Virginia Tech, Nitya Ramadoss, PhD of Stanford University and Michael P. Rout, PhD of The Rockefeller University are this year’s recipients

PORTOLA VALLEY, Calif., July 6th, 2021—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the U.S., announces the recipients of the 2021 Emerging Leader Awards (ELA), which are designed to support promising scientists who represent the future of Lyme disease research leadership. Michael P. Rout, PhD of The Rockefeller University will receive $250,000 for his work with nanobodies to develop a sensitive point-of-care diagnostic. Brandon Jutras, PhD of Virginia Tech and Nitya Ramadoss, PhD of Stanford University will each receive $100,000 toward the development of a novel direct-detection diagnostic approach for Lyme disease and a novel therapeutic based on B-cell mapping, respectively. Lyme disease is a potentially disabling infection diagnosed in nearly half a million Americans each year.

“As there is not a diagnosis or treatment that works for all patients, there is a critical need to develop direct-detection diagnostics as well as treatments that can prevent the development of persistent Lyme disease, and we are excited to support these novel approaches that have shown success in other areas,” said Linda Giampa, executive director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation.

Two of the award winners will utilize biological samples from the Lyme Disease Biobank, a program of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, to collect well-characterized human tissue, blood and urine specimens to accelerate research of Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections.

Ticks Carrying Disease Found to Be Abundant in Beach Areas, Similar to Woodlands, According to New Study

Ticks Carrying Disease Found to Be Abundant in Beach Areas

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

 

Ticks Carrying Disease Found to Be Abundant in Beach Areas, Similar to Woodlands, According to New Study

Study Funded by Bay Area Lyme Foundation Also Shows Ticks in Northern California Carry a Diversity of Disease-causing Bacteria at Higher Rates Than Previously Reported

Portola Valley, CA, April 23, 2021—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, today announced results of a study demonstrating that adult Western black-legged ticks (Ixodes pacificus) carrying Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, were found in beach areas at equal rates to the woodland habitats in parts of northwestern California. Further, researchers, who were testing ticks for up to 5 species of tick-borne bacteria, found that the collective infection rate of all species was as high as 31% in at least one area, which offers a different perspective from previous studies that tested for a single species of bacteria in a specific area or areas. Conducted by researchers at Colorado State University, Northern Arizona State University and Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), and published in the June issue of the peer-reviewed journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology (AEM), the research points to the need for greater education for both the community at large and healthcare providers about the risks of tick-borne disease.

“The high rate of disease-carrying ticks in the coastal chaparral was really surprising to us. And when looking at all the tick-borne pathogens simultaneously, it makes you rethink the local disease risk,” said Lead Author Daniel Salkeld, PhD, Colorado State University. “Previously, we, along with other researchers, may have missed the big picture when we focused our attention on investigating the risk of one pathogen at a time. Now, we have a new imperative to look at the collective risk of all tick-borne pathogens in an area.”

Five Herbal Medicines Potent Against Tick-Borne Disease Babesiosis in Lab, Says New Study

Five Herbal Medicines Potent Against Tick-borne Disease Babesiosis in Lab says Dr Sunjya Schweig

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

Five Herbal Medicines Potent Against Tick-Borne Disease Babesiosis in Lab, Says New Study

Research Supported by Bay Area Lyme Foundation Points to Need for More Effective Treatments Compared to Currently Utilized Treatments for Tick-Borne Infections

PORTOLA VALLEY, CA, March 9, 2021 — Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the U.S., today announced the publication of new data finding that five herbal medicines had potent activity compared to commonly-used antibiotics in test tubes against Babesia duncani, a malaria-like parasite found on the West Coast of the U.S. that causes the disease babesiosis. Published in the journal Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, the laboratory study was funded in part by the Bay Area Lyme Foundation. Collaborating researchers were from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, California Center for Functional Medicine, and FOCUS Health Group, Naturopathic.

“This research is particularly important as babesiosis is a significant emerging health risk. Due to limited therapeutics and a rise in treatment resistance, current treatment options for this disease are inadequate and many patients rely on herbal therapies for which there is only anecdotal evidence of efficacy,” said co-author Sunjya K. Schweig, MD, Founder and Director, California Center for Functional Medicine and Scientific Advisory Board Member, Bay Area Lyme Foundation, who has also studied herbal treatments for Lyme disease.

“Increasingly, Americans with chronic diseases are pursuing complementary and alternative medicine to improve general health or quality of life. We hope this data offers inspiration to other researchers to further explore similar options for people living with persistent tick-borne diseases that do not respond to current treatments,” added Dr. Schweig.

First Female US Air Force Thunderbird Pilot and Her Fiercest Battle Yet

Col. Nicole Malachowski, Former Deputy Director for US Air Force Readiness and Training for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, and Bay Area Lyme Foundation Ambassador

Col. Nicole Malachowski, first female Thunderbird pilot, National Women’s Hall of Famer, and Former Deputy Director for US Air Force Readiness and Training for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and Bay Area Lyme Foundation Ambassador shares her challenging journey from military fighter to Lyme warrior.

Gain Strength and Inspiration through the SDLA Empowerment Circle 

Written by: Christina P. Kantzavelos

Driven by a desire to create a centralized resource and supportive community for those impacted by Lyme and tick-borne disease, the San Diego Lyme Alliance (SDLA) was formed as an affiliate of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation in 2019. The challenges of navigating Lyme disease are vast and need not be faced alone. So following in the footsteps of past and existing local Lyme support groups, SDLA established three regional “Circle of Support” group meetings in Carlsbad, Scripps Ranch and La Jolla. Creating this safe space for open dialogue enabled Lyme patients, family and caregivers to build meaningful connections, feel supported and stay informed.

In March 2020, life changed abruptly. COVID-19 demonstrated the importance of human communication and connectedness, with a rise in feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety. While the pandemic presented the challenges of isolation, it also provided the opportunity to explore new ways of interacting and building meaningful connections. Quick to adapt to the online virtual world via Zoom, the “Empowerment Circle” (EC) was born in June 2020. Initially facilitated by Mark Guay, Christina P. Kantzavelos and Patricia Cosulich have joined as co-facilitators to round out the EC Team. Over time our group has brought together participants from San Diego and beyond, including San Francisco, the east coast, and even Canada. The pandemic presented an unexpected opportunity to bring people together more effectively, transcending time, geographical separation and physical limitations.

Nanotrap® Urine Test for Lyme Borreliosis

– Wendy Adams, Research Grant Director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation

 

Bay Area Lyme has a goal to leverage the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation of Silicon Valley in order to catalyze novel projects around the country. Our belief is that the application of cutting-edge technologies will have a dramatic impact on making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure. We collaborate with world-class scientists focused on Lyme projects which leverage knowledge from other fields of medicine and research. We also prioritize engagement with the investment and biotech communities so that breakthroughs in the laboratory can be translated more quickly to patients. Since our inception, our scientific research funding priorities have been focused on supporting diagnostic and therapeutic projects.

It is impossible to cure Lyme disease in every case without understanding how to diagnose it accurately. There are many reasons for this disease being difficult to identify—ticks are tiny, the EM skin rash is often misdiagnosed and symptoms overlap with other acute diseases like influenza. Most importantly, the widely used two tier diagnostic testing required for Lyme disease is currently the ELISA and Western Blot, which only detects the immune response (indirect detection) and not the pathogen itself. Because it can take at least 2-4 weeks for the body to generate antibodies, these tests have been shown to miss up to 70% of acute Lyme cases. These tests also do not detect other related Borrelia species, such as Borrelia miyamotoi), and cannot determine when the infection is eradicated.

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Announces Call for Entries for the 2021 Emerging Leader Awards

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

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Announces Call for Entries for the 2021 Emerging Leader Awards

Grant aims to inspire new research toward overcoming the challenges of Lyme disease

PORTOLA VALLEY, Calif., November 17, 2020—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, is announcing a call for entries for their 2021 Emerging Leader Awards (ELA), which are designed to encourage scientists who embody the future of Lyme disease research leadership in the US. This year, two grants, $250,000, and $100,000 will be awarded. Recipients will be researchers from academia or the private sector in the US. who have not necessarily conducted previous research in tick-borne diseases. All applicants are encouraged to bring learnings from other therapeutic areas to their research projects. Their proposal must have a defined scientific approach and rationale that can advance diagnostics or treatments for Lyme disease. Applications will be accepted through February 15, 2021, at midnight pacific. The full criteria and application for this award can be found here.

“This year has given us all the opportunity to consider the great importance of medical research and the devastation that can arise when a pathogen is not well-understood by the medical and scientific community,” said Wendy Adams, research grant director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation. “We clearly need novel approaches to make Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, and we hope these awards offer the support that innovative researchers require.”

The Connection Between Mold Illness and Lyme Disease

Many experts agree that if you are a patient being treated for chronic Lyme disease, but are not getting better, underlying mold toxicity could be at fault. Mold illnesses and Lyme Disease share many symptoms and if all treatments have been exhausted for Lyme with no result, mold could be the hidden offender. According to the book New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment“mold toxicity causes patients to develop symptoms from Lyme infections and vice versa, and people with weakened immune systems are far more susceptible to sickness from mold…and doctors are just beginning to understand and explore it, and like Lyme disease, many conventional physicians are not even aware of it.”

Many people know that black mold poses a huge threat, but are unfamiliar with other types of mold causing health issues. Mold illness causes extreme inflammation, called chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS) and when coupled with Lyme disease, symptoms such as fever, headache, and fatigue are exacerbated. Often, mold-related allergies are misdiagnosed or worse, many doctors assume the problems are psychosomatic. Because of this, many people are not aware they are suffering from CIRS plus Lyme disease simultaneously.