STAMFORD, Conn. -- The Stamford-based Global Lyme Alliance recently appointed Dr. Neil Spector to its Scientific Advisory Board.
The Stamford-based alliance is the nation’s leading nonprofit funder of Lyme and tick-borne disease research and education.
Spector is a cancer physician-scientist and Lyme survivor, as well as one of the nation’s top oncologists. He is an associate professor of medicine and pharmacology and cancer biology at Duke University in Durham, N.C.
His near-death experience with undiagnosed Lyme disease inspired his 2015 memoir "Gone in a Heartbeat: A Physician's Search for True Healing."
Spector experienced debilitating health problems, including overwhelming fatigue, cardiac arrhythmias and joint pain. After several tests proved inconclusive, his doctor concluded it was stress. Years later, doctors discovered his heart was barely functioning, having been nearly destroyed by Lyme disease. Without an immediate heart transplant, he had only 72 hours to live.
Spector said much work needs to be done to improve the lives of individuals suffering from Lyme and other tick-borne infections.
"I am honored to join GLA’s Scientific Advisory Board because this is an organization that is passionate about changing the lives of those suffering with Lyme disease and co-infections through their relentless efforts to seek out and support innovative research and increase public awareness to the ravages of this horrendous disease," he said. "Better diagnostics and more effective therapies are desperately needed, which will require a commitment to support cutting-edge research."
Spector previously was the director of GlaxoSmithKline's Exploratory Medical Sciences in Oncology. He he successfully developed two important cancer drugs and guided them through FDA approval. He also has been internationally recognized for his research achievements.
"The wealth of experience and knowledge he brings with him as a scientist, along with his insights as a patient who nearly lost his life from Lyme, will be invaluable as we seek to accelerate research into the development of better diagnostics and treatments for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases," said Dr. Harriet Kotsoris, GLA’s chief scientific officer.
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