Labor commits $2.8M for innovative Lyme disease research

If elected, Labor promises to fund an integrated research platform for early diagnosis and personalised treatment of Australian Lyme disease.

In a statement provided to the Lyme Disease Association of Australia today, Shadow Health Minister Catherine King says “Labor shares LDAA’s conviction that Australians suffering with a Lyme like illness deserve the best possible care and support, and that further research is needed on the causes of and possible treatments for Lyme-like illness in Australia”.

The Lyme Disease Association of Australia (LDAA) outlined its plans for ground-breaking innovative research in its 2019 Pre-Budget Submission.  Chair of the LDAA’s Scientific Advisory Committee,  Professor Gilles Guillemin, neuroscientist at Macquarie University, proposed a personalised medicines model, in collaboration with doctors in Australia including Dr Richard Schloeffel OAM, Dr Bernie Hudson, Royal North Shore Hospital Infectious Disease Specialist and esteemed scientist Prof Edward Holmes of Sydney University along with other eminent international collaborators in USA, France and Germany.

The research is the first of its kind in Australia and will establish a nation-wide comprehensive biobank of samples from people suffering with a Lyme like illness and will provided answers for patients quickly. The research team say that developing biomarkers – chemical identifiers in the body that indicate the presence and severity of an illness – for Lyme-like illness would be a huge step forward in understanding and combating the condition in Australia, enabling our health system to formally recognise the illness and offer faster treatment options for patients.

The research will also include a One Health focused app and data repository through the establishment of a registry (immuno- and proinflammatory profiles) together with the causative pathogens identified (viruses, bacteria, parasites) and will deliver a personalised treatment regimen adapted to each patient with Lyme-like illness within 3 years.

LDAA CEO,  Ms Sharon Whiteman says "with the support of Labor’s investment, the research will lead to more certainty on the causes, symptoms and treatments for Lyme-like illness bringing relief to people who are suffering around Australia".

"While it doesn’t address all the pieces of the puzzle to solve the multitude of challenges for Australian Lyme patients, funding this research is a breakthrough moment for patients and key to evolving the situation with a contemporary, personalised research protocol. Australian Lyme patients are both excited and grateful to have such hope on the horizon", said Ms Whiteman.