The gift will support follow-up research on potential biomarkers related to the tick-borne disease, including a set of proteins in the blood known to be important for bone marrow regeneration and stability, as well as other proteins that are important to the immune response. With an initial $3.1 million in funding contributed by Jeff and Liesl Wilke, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, and the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, the project has completed the first year of a prospective study in which subjects with newly diagnosed Lyme disease provided blood and urine specimens at several different points during the year. ISB's new analysis will cover blood and urine proteins, blood and urine metabolites, patients' immune response, and genetic factors contributing to Borrelia strain differences, with the new patient samples enabling deep multi-omic analyses designed to reveal useful biomarkers, vaccine targets, and new therapeutic targets.
"We are excited to help Dr. Lee Hood and the Wilke Cohen Lyme Disease Project in the important work they are doing to help those who suffer from Lyme disease," said Alex Cohen, co-founder and president of the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, which has committed more than $50 million to more than twenty Lyme disease projects. "Lyme is a very complex and also poorly understood disease. However, we believe in ISB's holistic, systems approach and share their commitment to finding more effective diagnostics and treatments."