About the Network

There is an increasing need to build research capacity to address the emerging threat of Lyme disease (LD) in Canada. We are establishing the Canadian Lyme Disease Research Network (CLyDRN) to provide national capacity to conduct integrated, multidisciplinary, evaluative, and discovery research. CLyDRN will support, link, and coordinate research activities conducted in academia, public health, health care, and industry. CLyDRN’s research planning and activities will be conducted in collaboration with stakeholders including patients, caregivers and family members, community leaders and members of the general public (citizens), health care providers (HCPs), and public health professionals (PHPs). The goal of this research network is to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of LD in Canada.

 

Mission

This vision will be accomplished through a multi-centric, collaborative and team-based approach. The research group will make use of existing resources, and expertise from various academic and public health institutions as well as professional associations and commercial enterprises.

 

 

Values

Innovation and Excellence. The research network would be the first group of its kind at a Canadian university and would promote new and meaningful research

Collaboration. The goal of the research group would be to bring experts from various disciplines together, including clinicians, microbiologists, mathematicians, biologists, and public health professionals amongst others to form a multidisciplinary team with a common interest in LD and other tick-borne illnesses

Relevance. The research group would explore areas significant to Canadians and their needs, given that tick-borne illnesses are becoming an increasingly pressing issue

Enabled by the network, our vision of reducing the impact of LD through addressing knowledge gaps in Canada will be accomplished through this multidisciplinary approach which will mobilize and build LD-specific capacity and training opportunities, improve clinical science and practice, provide best evidence in testing and patient care, improve patient and population prevention outcomes and inform evidence-based policy.

Activities/Objectives

Foundational Resources will support and guide all network research objectives and activities defined within the network’s four Research Pillars.

 

Foundational Resources

National LD research capacity building

  1. National resource registry
  2. LD research training programs for research trainees, HCPs, PHPs, patients/family members/caregivers and citizens
  3. Seed grant program
  4. Annual general meeting and scientific conference

 

National multicentre biobank and associated patient cohorts

  1. Regions: Nova Scotia, southern Québec, Ontario and Manitoba
  2. Patient Cohorts: 1) Prospective cohort enrolled at diagnosis (before treatment), followed to 2 years post-diagnosis; 2) Self-registry cohort of patients with persistent symptoms attributed to LD

 

Collaborative infrastructure and communication strategies: to facilitate and improve knowledge translation and communication among network members, stakeholders and the general public.

Research Pillars

Pillar I.      Diagnostics. Using biobank samples and associated clinical cohort data, we will fund projects through a seed grant program that will develop and evaluate novel diagnostics platforms and methods to: 1) improve diagnostic test sensitivity, accuracy and/or speed in early LD and in non-endemic regions where limitations in positive predictive power of current testing are problematic; and 2) identify novel non-antibody-based biomarkers to improve sensitivity of early testing, monitor disease progression, resolution and treatment outcomes, distinguish patients with different disease symptoms, identify patients at risk of experiencing post-antibiotic treatment LD symptoms (PTLDS), and identify biomarkers of PTLDS that may lead to improved understanding and treatment of these symptoms. We will evaluate the ability of these and current two-tier serological tests to detect and possibly distinguish infection with different Lyme disease Borrelia strains present in Canada.

 

Pillar II.     Prevention and Risk Reduction. We will support research to identify and evaluate preventive measures, interventions, and/or population health approaches to decrease risk of occurrence of LD, including a population cohort-linked multi-site longitudinal study to investigate environmental, social and epidemiological LD risk determinants. Additionally, seed grants will allow us to build regional models and maps to predict fine-scale risk and investigate novel risk reduction strategies. These activities will provide a quantitative framework to identify, develop and evaluate novel approaches for measuring and reducing LD risk.

 

Pillar III.   Clinical Science & Health Services Research. We will support research to determine the natural history of LD and identify and clinical (e.g., comorbidities) and other (e.g., bacterial strains, environmental, co-infections) risk factors for LD infection and progression (manifestations, sequelae). We will determine the impact of clinical management (diagnosis, treatment) on disease outcomes of Borrelia infection. We will determine the health and economic burden of LD from a wide range of perspectives. Understanding the burden of disease, natural history of disease, clinical management and risk factors will allow us to identify and assess integrated intervention strategies encompassing targeted and universal environmental (e.g., risk reduction strategies) and clinical interventions.

 

Pillar IV.   Patient & Community Engagement, Training and Knowledge Translation. We will conduct research, in collaboration with community and patient stakeholders, on LD assumptions, perspectives, concerns, and goals held by the general public, HCPs, and patients to establish a basis for developing effective approaches to knowledge translation, training, and information dissemination. The goal of this work will be to enhance communication and collaboration between stakeholders for improved LD diagnosis, treatment, and the development and adoption of evolving best practices.