LANDMARK PARTNERSHIP PAVES WAY FOR CANADA’S FIRST RESEARCH FACILITY TO IMPROVE LYME DISEASE TESTING AND TREATMENT

New G. Magnotta Lyme Disease Research Lab to be
Established at the University of Guelph; $1.4 Million Grant Awarded

June 14, 2017 – GUEPLH, Ontario: The G. Magnotta Foundation for Vector-Borne Diseases has announced a $1.4 million grant over three years to the University of Guelph, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology to undertake Canada’s first evidence-based translational medicine approach to the development of effective diagnostic tests and treatments for Lyme Disease. The research will reveal more precise incidents of Lyme Disease among patients in Canada, many of whom have had to leave the country to gain access to proper testing and care.

The $1.4 million grant for launching the long-awaited research lab has been made possible by the generous donations and support of countless Canadians who have been impacted or know someone who is suffering from the debilitating effects of Lyme Disease. Today, with the disease reaching epidemic proportions, the new research facility is giving Lyme patients in Canada a sense of hope that change is coming.

The G. Magnotta Lyme Disease Research Lab will be led by Melanie Wills, PhD, a world-class expert on cellular pathophysiology. A passionate, vocal advocate for increased research into Lyme Disease, she will lead a team at the University of Guelph to conduct basic research, translating over time to evidence-based improvements in diagnosis and treatments, which currently misses too many people and causes unnecessary and preventable long-term suffering.

The landmark partnership will also include strong links to a leading Canadian hospital for the collection of human tissue to detect the presence of Lyme and to serve as a site for patient recruitment, data collection and, ultimately, patient care. Details will be announced in the coming months.

Key Facts:

  • The Foundation was established in 2012 by Rossana Magnotta, co-founder and CEO of Magnotta Winery, in memory of her husband Gabe Magnotta who passed away after a lengthy and courageous battle with Lyme Disease. Married for almost 36 years, they had three children, founded Ontario’s third largest winery and spent their final years in Ontario’s health care system battling misdiagnosis, misunderstanding and mistreatment that continues to be the norm for today’s Lyme Disease patients and families.
  • Since its inception, the G. Magnotta Foundation has been collaborating closely with the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation (CanLyme) to connect with research scientists within Canada and around the world.
  • The Foundation has also developed strong alliances with the broader Canadian Lyme community of patients and their advocates.
  • Now found in all Canadian provinces, Lyme Disease is most commonly transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks which are predicted to increase significantly in numbers Canada wide.
  • One of the top 10 misdiagnosed diseases in the world, this multi-system infection is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia and can attack a person’s heart, brain, muscles, bones, digestive system, skin, eyesight, hearing and more. It can cause symptoms that mimic Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinsonism resulting in a prolonged misdiagnosis. Dr. Doug Sider at Public Health Ontario stated on May 21, 2017 that the real incidence of Lyme Disease in Ontario is likely at least 10 times higher than is currently being reported.
  • Lyme Disease, if caught early, can be effectively treated with a course of antibiotics. However, the lack of reliable tests in Canada means many people are being missed. If left untreated, Lyme Disease can become chronic, devastating and deadly.
  • In early June, Health Minister Jane Philpott announced the Federal Government will provide $4 million to establish a Lyme Disease Research Network providing the potential opportunity for an additional source of funding for the new G. Magnotta Lyme Disease Research Lab at the University of Guelph.

“I created the Foundation shortly after my husband passed away from the effects of Lyme Disease. Over the years it has become a beacon of hope for the countless people who suffer from Lyme every day. I believe the University of Guelph, with its deep expertise in zoonotic diseases, its world-class researchers and its advanced technologies will deliver on the promise that drives our Foundation donors to combat this terrible disease.”

Rossana Magnotta

President and Founder, G. Magnotta Foundation for Vector-Borne Diseases

“Lyme Disease is increasingly recognized as a substantial threat across the country, and there is a profound need for high quality science that can improve the lives of afflicted Canadians. As a researcher in the field of cellular pathology, I am passionate about uncovering mechanisms that drive human illness. It is an honour to work with the visionary G. Magnotta Foundation toward a shared goal of breaking new ground in the understanding and treatment of this complex vector-borne disease.”

Dr. Melanie Wills, PhD                                                                                         Inaugural Director of the G. Magnotta Lyme Disease Research Lab                   Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Guelph

“I am very excited about this partnership between the University of Guelph and the G. Magnotta Foundation. Lyme Disease is a terrible affliction and this laboratory will advance the Lyme Disease research agenda for all Canadians.”

Dr. Jonathan Newman                                                                                       Dean, College of Biological Science, University of Guelph        

 

 

  1. Marie Marks on said:

    Congratulations to those involved in creating this new endeavor to study and learn more about the horrible disease that so many of us suffer from. Thank you to CanLyme and the G. Magnotta Foundation for your continued commitment to this important step in finding better methods of diagnosing and treating Lyme disease.
    Sincerely MM

  2. Julie Meikle on said:

    This is amazing. It does give hope to so many people.

    If you need patients for research I am offering myself to you in any way you need. 5.5 years of antibiotic treatment and I am here at the hospital because my legs omhave decided to stop working. With recent tests done by Arminlabs in Germany, I test positive for Lyme, mycoplasma pneumonia and Coxsackievirus.

    I am willing to help in anyway possible to help myself and others.

  3. Mike Murphy on said:

    I have had all the Chronic symptoms of Lyme Disease that started in 2004.
    The current blood test always came back negative and I have been refused treatment since 2004 by numerous doctors and Infectious Disease specialists in spite of the very visible bulls eye red rash they saw. All they said was its a mystery and refused to help me.
    The Lyme rash still appears every few months.
    I am completely disabled now and find every acclivity very painful and I rarely leave my house.
    The news regarding the new study of Lyme disease is wonderful news to prevent others suffering like I do every day.

  4. Cathie Smith on said:

    This is amazing news ! Finally making some progress As a lyme sufferer I want to thank the Canadian Lyme disease organization and the Magnotta foundation for all their hard work on our behalf

  5. John Wilson on said:

    I just want to say a great big THANK YOU to my brother Jim Wilson for his contributions in fighting Lyme disease for about the last 25 years. He also is the founder of Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation and has personally helped hundreds of people get proper diagnoses for Lyme disease and get them onto to the road to better health, including himself.
    Thank you Jim.

  6. Mark C Poullos on said:

    Such wonderfull new that Rossana Magnotta has been able to pull this together. Long overdue – Shame on our Governments at all levels that this terrible disease has been left to the public sector to fend for ourselves. I have watched Familiy members and friends who suffer from the devastating results of chronic Lyme Disese due to lack of participation from our medical community. More power to the University of Guelph and Dr Melanie Wills. Lets all stand together against Big Pharma that will without doubt try to trivialize and/or distort the facts gained from this important research.

  7. Sue McDougall on said:

    Fantastic!
    Looking Forward to reading the Research progress that this facility can do to bring Borrelia to the Forefront. Finally, the true cause of many medical conditions may very well be revealed.

  8. Lynn Clark on said:

    Congratulations Rosanna !!!

    After all your dedication to the cause, your efforts will now pay off. Many Lyme patients, their and their care givers and families appreciate everything you have accomplished. Jim and you have broken ground.

  9. Lorraine on said:

    This is an amazing achievement ! All of the work over the past twenty eight years since I contracted Lyme disease has come to this. Thank you Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation and all of the other individuals in volved .

  10. Rob Murray on said:

    Congratulations on getting this facility up and running. Medicine has a long history of at first denying then ridiculing and finally accepting diseases such as Lyme borreliosis. There will never be an apology but this research facility should help move the momentum in the right direction. The basis of denial has been that it has to be evidenced based medicine and we have had to point out that that also means you have to be prepared to review all the evidence and not just pick and choose the pieces you want and reject out-of-hand all the evidence you don’t like. Better yet we hope that this will produce science based evidence because much of what has gone on is based on the lowest form of evidence, namely expert opinion.

  11. Roanne Martin on said:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful partnership in furthering the cause for lyme disease. Thank you Rosanna Magnotta. There are so many of us who continue to be treated by Dr’s outside Canada for proper diagnosis and accurate testing. Look forward to the progress!

  12. Melissa on said:

    Please let me know how I can become part of the study. I am in the chronic Lyme category having lived with it for 10 years.

  13. Dr. Liz Zubek on said:

    This is absolutely fabulous. What a dynamic partnership! Rosanna Magnotta is passionate and knowledgeable, and Dr. Melanie Wills is an exceptional and eloquent researcher in the field. I am so excited to follow the research that emerges!

  14. Joanne on said:

    Thank you Rosanna Magnotta for perusing this on going battle and frustration of many that are still misdiagnosed . I being one of them !

    I had the pleasure of working in Vaughan and frequented Magnotta wine’s often and as a result had the opportunity to chat with your husband on so many occasions . I was devasted to learn of his passing from a desease if diagnosed early and treated properly the outcome would have most likely been so different .

    Again , thank you for taking on this enormous task and it’s wonderful to know finally there is some plan in place .

  15. Chris Powell on said:

    What a wonderful collaboration of forces! Thanks to all those who make this possible. Looking forward to exciting new developments.

  16. walt brown on said:

    I contacted lyme in Nov 2015 just did article with Ontario out of Doors…… July issue… proper testing is the KEY word to get better. Shania Twain is a lyme sufferer to.Thank GOD Guelph University is now on board.

  17. Karen Morgan on said:

    This is wonderful news! Thank you deeply.

    Me: 2012 bulls eye rash, no treatment, now full on neurovestibular dysfunction. Antibiotics are helping, finally. I got my diagnosis from Armin Labs in Germany.

  18. Wanda B on said:

    I have been suffering with lyme for past 12 years….I went to virgina for a horse back riding trip and came back to camp covered in ticks….we removed most but missed one…I later had to have surgery to remove it my doctor said….however never received any antibiotics or proper care for lyme doctor didn’t know what she was doing.
    I have had the bulls eye rash and many other of the symptoms of lyme which keep getting worse each year….but all my tests come back with your very healthy it must be your imagination or we don’t have an answer or its stress….
    I even had my blood sent to labs in the states but when results came back my doctor couldn’t understand them….thus trying to find another doctor in Ontario who can read the tests.
    I would love to volunteer to the magnotta Lyme disease lab if your looking for patients.
    Just keep hoping that some day the government will require all doctors to be trained in this disease and allow them to treat us.

  19. susan Pasay Pasay on said:

    It is about time and long overdue. How many people have been mis diagnosed because of inaccurate testing. Why in Canada we do not have a proper lab??????

  20. Jo-ann on said:

    I have been trying to get a diagnosis for Lyme for quite some time. ….at this juncture, I feel I am “chronic”. I was tested about 10 years ago, but the result was negative. My life has been filled with physical activity until about 3 years ago when I caught some illness from my mother-in-law in a palliative care hospital – it took heavy doses of antibiotics to get me feeling better 1750 mg amoxicillin per day, but at the cost of my energy. To this day, my life is about “managing my energy”!

    I can tick-off almost every box on the Can-Lyme site, and have been trying to educate my new doctor on the vagaries of this disease. I take my husband along to my appointments because I need him to help me advocate for myself. It’s so frustrating. Recently, I went to a neurologist [had to wait a year for the appointment]: the requisition stated “chronic fatigue” which is a big problem for me, but I came away with a prescription for splints for “carpal tunnel” syndrome. What a terrible “disconnect”! I told the doctor I was soooooo disappointed.

    I am so pleased that this foundation has been established and would be happy to be considered as a subject for research.

  21. Did not have bulls eye rash but I would like to know if bite area can be a small red mark size of a dime? Noticed the mark on my shin a few days after a fishing trip on the river 6 yrs ago. My x wife removed and said just a black head throws out! Started having various symptoms doctor thought just stress? After some research on my part I made my doctor request blood tests be done. But have been negative, even sent out blood work to the states for testing! All negative, then had MRI which showed plaque markers that could be caused by Lyme, I was told. Still having various symptoms which come and go and my doctor cannot explain ? I am lost!!

  22. mary lee mackenzie on said:

    at last, some research. i have morgellons, was not diagnosed for over a year since my eliza test came back negative. i am seeing a US DR and have had a cdc positive western blot test from igenx lab in california. i have been treated with antibiotics for over 2 years and am greatly improved although not disease free. I would be happy to be involved in the study. please excuse typos as i am 73 and just learning internet.

    • You are doing just fine for just learning the internet. Didn’t see any typos. It is so sad we cannot get appropriate access to care in our own country by the vast majority of mainstream doctors.

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