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Lyme Disease Diagnostics Focus of Renewed Funding for U of G Lab

0 2 years ago

With more ticks and tick bites occurring in Canada year after year, better diagnosis of Lyme disease is the goal of renewed funding from the G. Magnotta Foundation for Vector-Borne Diseases supporting a dedicated Lyme disease research program at the University of Guelph.

The G. Magnotta Lyme Disease Research Lab will receive a three-year, $1.2-million grant from the foundation to continue studying the bacterial pathogen and the disease it causes.

One long-range objective is to improve diagnosis of the disease, which is notoriously difficult to detect, said Dr. Melanie Wills, director of the lab in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB), part of the College of Biological Science.

The new funding, announced May 2, follows the foundation’s initial investment of $1.4 million in 2017 to establish the lab at U of G.

A better solution to diagnostics and treatment

Beyond studying diagnostics, members of the lab aim to help improve disease treatment and prognosis for people infected with Lyme disease.

Working across the spectrum from fundamental research to clinical application, Wills said, “Our end goal is to improve patient outcomes.”

“Since our landmark partnership and first grant in 2017, it is remarkable what this team of brilliant scientists has achieved at the G. Magnotta Lyme Research Lab,” said Rossana Magnotta, the foundation’s president and founder.

Referring to the team’s research intended to understand Lyme-causing bacteria, she said, “The information they have uncovered and the research studies by Dr. Wills that have been published have earned the lab well-deserved national and international attention.

“I am proud that this team is not afraid to challenge the status quo and be relentless about it because they are looking for a better solution to diagnostics and treatment of this disease that Canadians have been denied. Our second grant will certainly bring a new wave of knowledge as we head into real clinical studies.”

Added U of G president Dr. Charlotte Yates, “This is an excellent example of how University of Guelph research in partnership with the G. Magnotta Foundation will help improve the health of people here in Canada and abroad. I’m delighted that the foundation will renew funding for research intended to improve diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.”

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