Greenwich, CT - John N. Aucott, M.D., founder and president of Lyme Disease Research Foundation, and a renowned expert in clinical research on the diagnosis and epidemiology of Lyme disease, will receive the Lauren F. Brooks Hope Award at Lyme Research Alliance (LRA) and Tick-Borne Disease Alliance’s (TBDA) “Time for Lyme” Gala April 11, 2015. The award honors those who are making significant strides in research and treatment in pursuit of a Lyme disease cure.
Dr. Aucott, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is Principal Investigator of the landmark SLICE (Study of Lyme Disease Immunology and Clinical Events) project, done in collaboration with scientists at Johns Hopkins. It is the first prospective controlled study in the U.S. to examine the impact of Lyme disease on immune function and long-term patient health outcomes.
“With the SLICE study, Dr. Aucott stands alone as a pioneer,” says Harriet Kotsoris, M.D., LRA’s Chief Scientific Officer. “His clinical expertise and dedicated efforts toward unraveling the natural history of Lyme disease are worthy of the Hope Award’s prestigious recognition.”
Lyme disease is one of the fastest growing infectious diseases in the U.S., with 300,000 new cases annually. The disease is usually curable if treated early with antibiotics. However, approximately 15 to 20 percent of those treated for the disease experience lingering symptoms of excessive fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, cardiac, and neurological problems after their antibiotic treatment is completed. Some doctors call these persistent symptoms post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS), while others call it chronic Lyme.
Dr. Aucott’s study aims to understand why some patients suffer PTLDS lasting for weeks, months or years while others do not. “These patients are lost,” he says. “No one knows how to deal with them. It’s a challenge, but first thing we need to do is recognize this is a problem. There’s not a magic pill. These people already got the magic pill and it didn’t work.”
The study has enrolled more than 150 people with acute (early), untreated Lyme disease, generated over 1,000 patient visits, and produced a bio-repository of blood and tissue samples from these Lyme disease patients, helping to advance research, including biomarker discovery, for improved diagnostics and therapies.
As an extension of his SLICE program at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Aucott has received a two-year grant from LRA and will recruit large numbers of patients with medically documented chronic Lyme disease. “They will be studied and their blood will be banked, providing tremendous research opportunities,” said Dr. Kotsoris. “This fundamental research is essential for the ultimate goal of developing a reliable diagnostic tool and an effective treatment for post-treatment Lyme disease patients.”
Dr. Aucott, a California native, graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors from the University of California at Berkeley. He received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed his residency at the University Hospitals of Cleveland, where he served as Medical Chief Resident. He then joined the faculty at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, where he became Associate Professor of Medicine.
He returned to Baltimore in 1996 to join the Faculty of Medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Today as an internist and infectious disease specialist who practices at Park Medical Associates in Lutherville, MD, he lectures widely and collaborates with internationally known Lyme disease researchers. He was a member of the 2010 Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science workshop on tick-borne infections and Lyme disease.
The “Time for Lyme” Gala will be held Saturday, April 11 from 6:30 p.m. to midnight at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich in Old Greenwich, CT. It features a cocktail reception, dinner, dancing, and a silent and live auction. This year’s Gala will also celebrate the merger between LRA and TBDA. The merger will result in the formation of the leading tick-borne disease organization, allowing for greater resources to be applied to research on urgently needed improvements in diagnostics and treatments, while maintaining education programs for the general public and physicians.
For more information, or to purchase tables or tickets, please visit LymeResearchAlliance.org and click on the homepage box, or call 203-969-1333.