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College of Medicine to Host Lyme Disease Conference

March 26, 2015

Drexel to host Lyme disease conference

The Centers for Disease Control confirms there are 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease diagnosed every year in the United States. In the continental US, Pennsylvania is usually ranked as being first or second in the nation with the most cases. In 2014, the State Senate unanimously passed legislation intended to execute prevention, education and surveillance strategies for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. In light of this legislation, Drexel University College of Medicine is teaming up with the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), and the PA Lyme Resource Network (PALRN) to host a two-day conference. This conference brings together physicians and researchers to discuss current and future treatment protocols and investigational research.

“ILADS and Drexel are working as partners in this effort,” said Garth Ehrlich, PhD, professor in the Departments of Microbiology & Immunology and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Drexel University College of Medicine, and executive director of Drexel’s Center for Advanced Microbial Processing and the Center for Genomic Sciences, within the Institute for Molecular Medicine & Infectious Disease. “This ILADS conference breaks new ground as it is the first such meeting to be co-sponsored by a University. The goal is to bring frontline researchers together with the clinical teams that are battling this complex disease that can affect multiple organ systems, resulting in a constellation of presentations from acute to chronic infections and from rapidly resolving symptoms to recurrent exacerbations. Priorities will be to develop strategies for improved diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.”

“This conference will help educate doctors and researchers in the spirit of Pennsylvania’s legislation and hopefully catalyze more options for patients in preventing and treating these sometimes debilitating diseases,” said Julia Wagner, MBA, president, PALRN.

The keynote speaker, Judith Miklossy, MD, PhD, is a great example of this groundbreaking research focus. Miklossy’s research studies the role of pathogens in neurodegenerative disease, specifically Borrelia and Alzheimer’s. Miklossy is director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention International Foundation and International Alzheimer Research Center in Switzerland. “Topics will be presented by top clinicians, and also international investigators sharing breakthrough research on the chronic infections which can be associated with Lyme and other diseases,” said Daniel Cameron, MD, MPH, president, ILADS.

In addition to Ehrlich and Miklossy, other speakers include:

  • Peter Nara, DVM, PhD, CEO and co-founder of Biological Mimetics, Inc.; former section chief of Vaccine Resistant Diseases Section at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, former Endowed Eugene Lloyd Entrepreneurial Chair in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University; current adjunct professor of Microbiology/Immunology, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa.
  • Daniel Cameron, MD, MPH, president of ILADS; pioneer in the field of clinical epidemiology in Lyme disease as an author of practice guidelines, analytic reviews, and clinical trials.
  • Sam Shor, MD, associate clinical professor, George Washington University Health Care Sciences and president-elect of ILADS.
  • Eva Sapi, PhD, associate professor and university research scholar at the Department of Biology and Environmental Science at the University of New Haven, where she teaches graduate biology courses and conducts Lyme disease research.

The conference takes place on April 10 (1 – 9 p.m.) and April 11 (7:15 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.) at the College’s Center City Campus (245 N. 15th Street). More details on the conference program and speakers are available at CME credit is available (AMA-PRA, AAFP).

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