May 17, 2012: TBDA and X PRIZE Foundation Create "TBDA Diagnostic X PRIZE" Global Competition to Develop a Fail-Safe Diagnostic Tool for Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases
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TICK-BORNE DISEASE ALLIANCE AND X PRIZE FOUNDATION
CREATE "TBDA DIAGNOSTIC X PRIZE" GLOBAL COMPETITION TO DEVELOP
FAIL-SAFE DIAGNOSTIC TOOL FOR LYME AND TICK-BORNE DISEASES
First Critical Step Toward Eradicating Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases
Which Have Emerged as Growing Public Health Crisis Worldwide
TBDA’s initiative with the X PRIZE will use the power of the private sector to raise the millions of dollars needed to tackle the complex issue of finding a reliable diagnostic tool for tick-borne diseases. Over approximately the next six months, TBDA and the X PRIZE will work with experts from around the world to develop a successful process to design a competition to incentivize researchers worldwide to help solve the problem of finding a definitive diagnostic tool for tick-borne diseases.
“TBDA is proud and excited to partner with the X PRIZE Foundation to seek to develop a break-through diagnostic tool which is the key to eradicating this terrible health problem,” said David Roth, Co-Chairman of TBDA’s Board of Directors and a Managing Director at Blackstone Real Estate Advisors. “Today, there is a worldwide need and demand for precise, effective tests that would be widely accepted by the medical community and available to anyone, regardless of location or financial means.
“A reliable diagnostic tool will change the playing field – it will save hundreds of thousands of people from needless suffering and also present a solid foundation of facts to the medical community, government, business and insurance companies, which is needed for effective advocacy and fundraising to fuel research and promote public awareness,” added Roth. “By working with the X PRIZE Foundation, TBDA aims to turn these diseases into relics from another era, just like polio, smallpox and tetanus.”
"We are proud to partner with the TBDA to develop a prize that will revolutionize diagnosis and improve treatments. Together, we will stop this epidemic and save lives,” said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation.
The TBDA and X PRIZE Foundation initiative serves as a crucial step toward eradicating Lyme and tick-borne diseases, which have emerged as a global public health issue with infections reported in nearly every U.S. state, throughout countries in Europe, as well as in Russia, China and Japan. In the US alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have singled out Lyme disease as the most common and fastest growing vector-borne, infectious disease in the country. Despite the alarming escalation of Lyme and tick-borne diseases on national and international fronts, there are no 100% reliable diagnostic tools available at this time. Such diagnostic inadequacies and limitations can significantly hamper timely and appropriate treatment of the early stages of Lyme and tick-borne diseases, and also allow for ongoing misdiagnoses and ineffective medical protocols.
Robert K. Weiss, Vice Chairman and President of the X PRIZE said, "X PRIZES are designed to attack market failures. The lack of financial and intellectual capital going into effective diagnosis and therapies as well as the misperceptions surrounding tick-borne diseases make it a prime candidate for an impactful incentivized competition. An X PRIZE would crowd-source innovation for rapid, reliable, standardized diagnostics and brings national attention to these devastating diseases."
According to Weiss, the competition for a reliable diagnostic tool for Lyme and tick-borne diseases falls under the X PRIZE Foundation’s Life Sciences Prize Group, which stimulates innovative breakthroughs in molecular biology, stem cell research, bionics, organogenesis, synthetic biology, and artificial intelligence in order to improve health care, extend healthy living, and eliminate illness and disease.