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Journal of Clinical Microbiology Publishes First Study Using Samples from the Lyme Disease Biobank

More Than 40 Research Projects Have Now Used Samples from Bay Area Lyme Foundation's Lyme Disease Biobank

PORTOLA VALLEY, Calif., Oct. 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the U.S., today announced that a study published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology reports a potential new diagnostic, mChip-Ld, which can be performed in 15 minutes in a physician's office, offers efficacy improvement over the current gold standard diagnostic, the two-tier test, and may be able to identify a patient's Lyme disease stage. The research study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, was made possible, in part, by blood samples provided by Bay Area Lyme Foundation's Lyme Disease Biobank (LDB). LDB is a program of Bay Area Lyme Foundation (BAL), and is supported by donations from multiple sources including the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation.

"Our research toward developing rapid diagnostic assays for Lyme disease is impossible to carry out without having access to laboratory confirmed physician-characterized blood samples," said study author Maria Gomes-Solecki, DVM, associate professor at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center. "In the past, a limited set of well-characterized Lyme disease samples could be obtained from the CDC. The BAL Lyme Disease Biobank provides another much-needed option in that regard."

With more than 800 blood, urine and tissue samples, the Lyme Disease Biobank is currently supporting more than a dozen studies related to identifying novel diagnostics and treatments and to gain a better understanding of tick-borne diseases. These include work being conducted by:

  • Charles Chiu, MD, PhD, professor, Departments of Laboratory Medicine and Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at University of California, San Francisco, associate director of the UCSF Clinical Microbiology Laboratory
  • Dino Di Carlo, PhD, professor, Bioengineering, Omai Garner, PhD, Assistant Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Aydogan Ozcan, PhD, Chancellor's Professor and HHMI Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Richard T. Marconi, PhD, professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Robert Moritz, PhD, director of proteomics, and Kai Wang, PhD, principal scientist, Institute for Systems Biology
  • Robert Naviaux, MD, PhD, professor, Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Pathology, University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine
  • Pardis Sabeti, MD, DPhil, professor, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, and Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

"While research in Lyme disease lags far behind most other diseases of the same magnitude, we are encouraged by the growing focus on Lyme and the increasing ability of the Lyme Disease Biobank to offer the tools researchers need to do their work," said Liz Horn, PhD, principal investigator, Lyme Disease Biobank. "As there is a great need for a rapid point-of-care diagnostic test for Lyme disease and the current gold standard diagnostic misses about half of all cases of early Lyme disease, our hope is that this critical research will one day help to improve care, and outcomes, for future Lyme patients."

A Multiplexed Serologic Test for Diagnosis of Lyme Disease for Point-of-Care Use

A collaborative effort led by Dr. Gomes-Solecki of The University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Sam Sia, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering, explores a potential new test, the mChip-Ld, a rapid lab-on-a-chip point of care (POC) blood test that utilizes microfluidics technology for the diagnosis of Lyme disease. Similar to the first tier (ELISA) test, this new test works by evaluating antibodies, but, as part of this study, the team developed a new algorithm that helps improve diagnostic performance of the assay. When comparing the mChip-Ld to the standard two-tier test, researchers observed a marked increase in sensitivity without loss of specificity, and also found that more antigens became positive as Lyme disease progressed from early to late stages.

The research study published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology was funded by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

About Lyme Disease Biobank

The Lyme Disease Biobank, sponsored by Bay Area Lyme Foundation, aims to dramatically accelerate research efforts to enable medical breakthroughs that will make Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure. The program collects blood and urine from untreated patients with early-stage Lyme disease and patients with chronic disease as well as tissue samples from late-stage patients to provide scientists with the samples they need to conduct their research. The Lyme Disease Biobank is currently comprised of samples from 800 participants, with each participant's sample divided into as many as 50 smaller aliquots that facilitate research of Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections. The Lyme Disease Biobank is a Type I supporting organization of Bay Area Lyme Foundation.

Lyme Disease Biobank is solely supported by Bay Area Lyme Foundation, which has received several substantial grants that help fund this effort including donations from the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation.

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 about 329,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year, according to statistics released in 2015 by the CDC. As a result of the difficulty in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, as many as 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 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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SOURCE Bay Area Lyme Foundation