We are excited to announce that we are awarding our first ever research grant to Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, for a project that aims to pilot a more sensitive and accurate diagnostic test.
As you may already know, we opened up for applications to the first round of our annual Innovation Fund at the beginning of the year. The project from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine was scored highest by our independent scientific advisory committee and Trustees.
About the project
This project will aim to pilot a new test for Lyme disease using immuno-PCR technology (iPCR), a method that combines pathogen protein detection with DNA amplification.
Currently, there is inadequate testing for Lyme disease. This is, in part, due to multiple Borrelia species and different diagnostic markers being present at different stages of the infection. The result of these two factors means there is no single test that can be used to reliably screen for Lyme disease.
Using an iPCR assay it will make it possible to screen multiple antigens and discriminate between them in a single assay. The intention of this study is to pilot this approach with a focus on six Borrelia burgdorferi antigens that span early and late infection.
If successful it will allow for better diagnosis in the very early stages of the disease when Lyme is most treatable. It will also be developed to better detect persistent bacteria in late stage/chronic Lyme.
Subject to final agreements, the project should begin in September and marks an important step towards life-changing Lyme research happening here in the UK.
Dr Lucas Cunningham, Lead Investigator says: “I was drawn towards researching Lyme disease as despite it being the most common vector borne disease in Europe there are still significant questions around diagnosis.
My project’s aim is to explore a novel Lyme diagnostic with the hope of improving detection of early and persistent cases of disease. I’m very excited to start my research thanks to the invaluable support from Caudwell LymeCo; both myself and my co-investigators look forward to making a positive contribution towards Lyme research.“
It has only been made possible for us to give grants for this work based on the support from our donors, fundraisers and partners. Thank you so much to them for making this possible.
From this recent round of applications, we have identified a further two exciting projects which need our help. One in particular aims to develop the ability to identify the persister forms of the Lyme bacteria which characterise the chronic stage of the disease. This could help in developing a test that is accurate for late stage Lyme and perhaps even identify treatments to target it too.
We will therefore be actively fundraising over the coming months so that we can make them happen.
If you would like to support these exciting and important projects, we would be so grateful for a donation of any size via the button below.