Global Lyme Alliance funds innovative and ground-breaking research in Lyme and tick-borne diseases. Grant recipients are chosen on the basis of rigorous review by GLA’s scientific advisory board, and projects are in a variety of subject areas ranging from basic science, diagnostics, treatment and clinical understanding. GLA is pleased to announce the following projects were awarded in 2020, and is grateful for the generous support of donors who make these awards possible.
With 476,000 annual new Lyme disease cases and up to 2 million with post-treatment Lyme disease in the US, the disease burden nationally — and globally — is unacceptably high. GLA hopes that research discoveries will reduce tick-borne disease morbidity and mortality, and provide better treatments so that all will be diagnosed and treated in an effective manner.
Dr. Lise Nigrovic
Boston Children’s Hospital Study (2020): Pediatric Lyme Biobank
Children contract Lyme and tickborne disease in large numbers. Because the blood test to diagnose Lyme disease is highly inaccurate, it’s important to develop new diagnostic tests that will allow timely treatment. The PediLyme Net is a network of eight pediatric hospital emergency rooms, that collects biospecimens from children suspected of having Lyme disease. These samples are frozen and stored, as well as those of negative control non-Lyme patients. Careful patient histories are collected alongside biospecimens and Lyme disease tests results are collected. The biobank serves as a valuable and unique resource for developing new diagnostics and understanding the correlates of disease. To date, samples from more than 3000 children have been collected and numerous peer-reviewed publication have been published detailing the results.
Columbia University Study (2020): "Diagnosing multiple tickborne diseases with TBD-Serochip"
Ticks can harbor multiple pathogenic microbes. Along with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, they can also transmit other bacteria, viruses, and parasites in a single bite. Separate, individual tests for each pathogen mean that complete diagnosis of tickborne illnesses may be missed, with inadequate treatment. Dr. Tokarz has been developing and optimizing the TBD-Serochip, which can diagnose up to eight of the most commonly diagnosed tickborne infections in one blood test. This technology will greatly aid better diagnostics and treatment of newly infected individuals.
Copenhagen University Hospital Study (2020): "Nationwide cohort studies examining psychiatric disorders and suicidal behavior after Lyme disease"
It has long been suspected that Lyme disease may increase the risk of psychiatric disorders, including depression and suicide ideation. However, all current knowledge is based on small studies focused on limited numbers of patients. Denmark has nationwide registries that include all health, demographic, and socioeconomic information of its citizens. Information from more than 2.4 million individuals born after 1977 will be analyzed. This large scale epidemiology-level approach will improve and strengthen the understanding of the potential neuropsychiatric outcomes of Lyme disease.
University of California-Davis Study (2020): "Protective humoral immunity to B. burgdorferi infection"
The bacterial cause of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi replicates in the laboratory mouse and causes disease. In the mouse model, it has been previously observed that control of bacterial replication is correlated with antibody production. The mechanism of antibody inadequacy after infection is not understood. This study will examine why B cells, the source of antibodies, fail to make antibodies that protect mice from B. burgdorferi replication. Since humans with Lyme disease may also fail to make protective antibodies against B. burgdorferi, these studies will help us to understand human disease and also provide a model to understand how to possibly boost productive antibody production.
Columbia University Study (2020): "Neuropsychiatric symptoms in children and adolescents with Lyme disease"
Recent studies have shown that some children can develop sudden onset neuropsychiatric symptoms after infections. Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal infections (PANDAS) includes symptoms such as obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, tics, and eating disorders. In this study, children and adolescents with acute onset neuropsychiatric symptoms will be studied to determine whether there is a connection with diagnosis of Lyme and other tickborne disease. Psychiatric and cognitive testing along with clinical evaluation, biorepository collection and biomarker analysis will also be carried out.