Columbia receives $16 million for tick-borne disease center, research

Columbia receives $16 million for tick-borne disease center, research

Columbia University Irving Medical Center has announced a $16 million gift from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation to establish a center for patients with Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

The Cohen Center for Health and Recovery from Tick-Borne Diseases will be the first center in New York City to offer dedicated treatment for people with Lyme and related diseases and will conduct national clinical trials focused on identifying more effective treatments. According to the university, the estimated incidence of Lyme disease in the United States has been rising steadily, with 10 percent to 20 percent of new infections leading to distressing and potentially disabling symptoms that can last for months or years, including severe fatigue, joint and muscle pain, neurologic symptoms, and cognitive problems.

"Like COVID-19 'long-haulers', many people with tick-borne diseases were completely well until their infection precipitated a cascade of chronic, multi-system effects," said Cohen Center director Brian Fallon. "A comprehensive evaluation takes time. In addition, the cost of care for patients with chronic symptoms can be prohibitive, requiring multiple visits to physicians who may not be aware of the latest research on tick-borne illnesses. Our center will be the first to address all of these issues by offering access to affordable care with experienced physicians while at the same time integrating research and physician training into our clinical model."