A selection of good news to keep us going!
PS the following have been included in the ‘good news’ section, as patients & their advocates have for years asked for more attention on the pitfalls of current methods of two tier testing, & some advancements in acknowledging this have recently been made! Also click here to see some promising updates on research.
*Updated Jun 2014
New bill in Canada passed – May 2014
The act calls for a national strategy in public education, prevention, diagnosis and the treatment of Lyme disease.
“This is a very serious illness and issue that called out for a federal framework,” (Elizabeth) May said (in the House of Commons). She said she hopes that within the next year, a plan will developed by all levels of government and relevant advocacy groups.
Lyme disease is a tick-borne infectious malady that can cause serious damage to the joints, heart and central nervous system if misdiagnosed or left untreated. If caught early, it is easily treated by antibiotics.
Over the past two years, May has presented many heart-rending stories of people affected by the disease. These include Saltspring Island’s Terri Bibby, who was not properly diagnosed and faced years of medical problems and bills, and many petitions from across the country.
Vermont governor signs Lyme treatment bill – May 2014
“(The law) removes restrictions, or perceived restrictions, on doctors from being able to practice a range of medical care for people with Lyme,” said Sen. David Zuckerman, P/D-Chittenden, who joined the governor, several other lawmakers and activists who pushed for the new law – many of whom suffer from the ongoing symptoms of Lyme or have loved ones who do.
More on the Vermont bill…
The new law steers clear of endorsing treatments. Rather the measure requires doctors and nurse practitioners to document in patients’ medical records the basis for diagnosing Lyme disease and for the treatments selected. The law requires that patients give written consent for any long-term treatments.
*Updated Apr 2014
Lyme Vaccine for Mice Could Protect People
BY MAGGIE FOX – NBC News
An experimental vaccine to control Lyme disease by targeting the mice that spread it cut the number of infected ticks by more than 75 percent after a couple of years, researchers reported Wednesday.
Produced in pellets that resemble pet food kibble, the vaccine protected mice, which in turn were far less likely to infect the ticks that bit them, the researchers reported in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
“Over a few years we saw a 75 percent reduction in the number of infected ticks,” said Dr. Tom Monath, a member of the board of U.S. Biologic, the company making the vaccine. “That would almost certainly result in a reduction of human infections.”
Luciana Meirelles Richer of the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center and colleagues tested the vaccine in a wooded part of New York over five years. It took a couple of years, but they saw a marked reduction in the number of infected ticks.
Lyme disease, caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, is spread by a complicated cycle. Mice carry the infection and can transmit it to baby ticks who feed on their blood. Ticks infect new mice the next year when they feed again.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 300,000 people are infected with Lyme every year.
U.S. Biologic is working to get the new vaccine approved by the USDA. The pellets would be sprinkled around in parks, on hiking trails and other areas where people are most likely to get infected.
“It’s cheaper than what you feed your dog. Very cheap,” Monath told NBC News.
First published February 12th 2014, 5:55 pm
Added 14th Dec 2013
Some recent hearings have taken place including discussions of testing & treatment in both the UK & Ireland – Tick Talk reviews both of them here:
Added 16th Aug 2013
Penn Researchers Attach Lyme Disease Antibodies to Nanotubes
Media Contact:Evan Lerner / March 21, 2013
Early diagnosis is critical in treating Lyme disease. However, nearly one quarter of Lyme disease patients are initially misdiagnosed because currently available serological tests have poor sensitivity and specificity during the early stages of infection. Misdiagnosed patients may go untreated and thus progress to late-stage Lyme disease, where they face longer and more invasive treatments, as well as persistent symptoms.
Existing tests assess the presence of antibodies against bacterial proteins, which take weeks to form after the initial infection and persist after the infection is gone. Now, a nanotechnology-inspired technique developed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania may lead to diagnostics that can detect the organism itself.
Taking the mystery out of Lyme disease: With key assist from TJ grad, research team at GMU developing early-detection kit
By Holly Hobbs Staff Writer
Researchers at George Mason University’s Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine (CAPMM) say the inspiration for a new early-detection Lyme disease test came from a high school student’s senior science project.
In 2010, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology senior Temple Douglas, who is now a 21-year-old rising senior at Princeton University, began researching methods for early detection of Lyme disease. Douglas became interested in Lyme disease detection after her sister, brother and mother became infected.
“The test is looking for pieces of the [Lyme disease] bacteria in the urine,” Luchini said. Researchers like Luchini are evaluating a new urine-sample test, which uses technology called a “Nanotrap” to gather antigen in urine allowing for earlier detection.
“The technology was originally developed through grants by the NIH [National Institutes of Health] for cancer research,” said Mason’s CAPMM co-director Lance Liotta. “The Nanotrap uses bait that attracts Lyme antigen… Since we’re sweeping all the Lyme antigen from the urine, we can detect earlier because of the [more dense] concentration.”
Mason has partnered with Ceres Nanosciences in testing and developing a commercial product that could be used in physicians’ offices as early as 2014.
For more details go to: http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/article/20130711/NEWS/130719672/1076/news&source=RSS&template=fairfaxTimes
Added 8th Mar 2013
Canada highlights pitfalls of testing..
Lyme disease test kits and limitations
*Serologic test results are supplemental to the clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease and should not be the primary basis for making diagnostic or treatment decisions.
*Lyme disease test kits have sensitivity and specificity limitations.
*Health care professionals should be aware of these limitations and are encouraged to report suspected incidents, including false-positive and false-negative results, to Health Canada.
Lyme disease test kits are class II (IV being the highest risk class) in vitro diagnostic devices. The devices are intended for the detection of antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi in human serum, plasma or cerebrospinal fluid.1 They are used to provide serologic evidence of B. burgdorferi exposure.Footnote 1 Infection can result in dermatologic, neurologic, cardiac and musculoskeletal disorders.2 Serologic testing is the only standardized type of laboratory investigation available to support the clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease in North America.3 The public health agencies of Canada and the United States recommend a two-tiered approach for blood testing when Lyme disease is suspected.3,4,5,6,7 The first tier consists of an enzyme immunoassay, such as an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), or an indirect immunofluorescent assay. If the result of first-tier testing is negative, the sample is reported to be negative for antibodies to B. burgdorferi and is not tested further. If the result is positive or indeterminate, second-tier testing with a standardized Western blot is then performed.3,4,5
As of June 2012, Health Canada received one incident report of false-negative serologic test results for 24 patients that may have delayed treatment. Timely recognition of Lyme disease and treatment are imperative to facilitate recovery and prevent long-term sequelae.2,7,8
The currently available Lyme disease test kits have been found to have limitations of sensitivity and specificity, particularly when used on patients with acute infection, which is usually easily treated with antibiotics.7,9 Even when the conventional two-tiered testing approach is used, the sensitivity and specificity of the combined test results can be less than optimal.9,10,11 In a comprehensive study of 280 serum samples from well-characterized Lyme disease patients, the sensitivity of the two-tiered approach was as low as 38% for the sera of patients who had erythema migrans during the acute phase and 67% during their convalescence after antimicrobial treatment.10 In late Lyme disease, the sensitivity increased to 87% for the sera of patients with early neuroborreliosis and to 97% for the sera of patients with Lyme arthritis.10
Many factors contribute to false-negative or false-positive serologic test results for Lyme disease.1,7,9,11,12,13,14 In general, false-negative results have been attributed to (a) a slow antibody response early in the course of the disease, (b) genetic diversity of B. burgdorferi and (c) treatment with antibiotics. False-positive results have been attributed to (a) cross-reacting antibodies due to other conditions or infections and (b) the persistence of antibodies after disease resolution. Variability in serologic test results for Lyme disease may also be related to interlaboratory differences and lack of interassay standardization.9,13,14
In contrast to the known HIV serologic testing using the two-tiered algorithm to confirm diagnosis, the Lyme disease test kits are not designed to screen patients or to establish a clinical diagnosis.9,12 A positive test result does not necessarily indicate current infection with B. burgdorferi, and a negative result, especially early in the course of infection, does not exclude B. burgdorferi infection as the cause of illness.9,10,11,12 Serologic test results should be used to support a clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease and should not be the primary basis for making diagnostic or treatment decisions.1,11 Diagnosis should be based on patient history, which includes symptoms and exposure to the tick vector, and physical findings.4,11,15
Health care professionals should be aware of the limitations of Lyme disease test kits and are encouraged to report suspected incidents, including false-positive and false-negative results, to Health Canada.
Rana Filfil, PhD, Health Canada
Some laws being passed in the States allow for longer treatment for Lyme victims, now they are looking at testing. Here’s some good news from Virginia:
The VA Lyme Bill just passed in Richmond by a Vote of 56 yes and 40 no.
A. Every licensee or his in-office designee who orders a laboratory test for the presence of Lyme disease shall provide to the patient or his legal representative the following written information:
“ACCORDING TO THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, AS OF 2011 LYME DISEASE IS THE SIXTH FASTEST GROWING DISEASE IN THE UNITED STATES.
YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER HAS ORDERED A LABORATORY TEST FOR THE PRESENCE OF LYME DISEASE FOR YOU. CURRENT LABORATORY TESTING FOR LYME DISEASE CAN BE PROBLEMATIC AND STANDARD LABORATORY TESTS OFTEN RESULT IN FALSE NEGATIVE AND FALSE POSITIVE RESULTS, AND IF DONE TOO EARLY, YOU MAY NOT HAVE PRODUCED ENOUGH ANTIBODIES TO BE CONSIDERED POSITIVE BECAUSE YOUR IMMUNE RESPONSE REQUIRES TIME TO DEVELOP ANTIBODIES. IF YOU ARE TESTED FOR LYME DISEASE, AND THE RESULTS ARE NEGATIVE, THIS DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN YOU DO NOT HAVE LYME DISEASE. IF YOU CONTINUE TO EXPERIENCE SYMPTOMS, YOU SHOULD CONTACT YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER AND INQUIRE ABOUT THE APPROPRIATENESS OF RETESTING OR ADDITIONAL TREATMENT.”
B. Licensees shall be immune from civil liability for the provision of the written information required by this section absent gross negligence or willful misconduct.
2. That the provisions of this act shall expire on July 1, 2018.
This was passed via the state senate. Another bill was also passed via delegates as follows:
Senate SB 971 ; House of Delegates HB 1933
(Richmond, VA) – A new bill, introduced in the Virginia State Senate by Dick Black, Senator, 13th District and in the House of Delegates by Barbara Comstock, Delegate, 34th District proposes to ensure that Virginia residents are adequately educated and informed of the limitations in the existing serologic tests used to detect Lyme disease.
Although results rendered by commercial laboratories already bear disclaimers warning that the results may yield false negatives thus requiring additional testing, generally these disclosures are not seen by the patients. The Lyme Disease Testing Information Disclosure Act will ensure that this critical information will get to the hands of all patients being tested for Lyme disease.
“I look forward to working on this legislation with National Capital Lyme in order to raise awareness about this terrible disease and the high incidence of false negative tests for Lyme. This bill will provide more information directly to patients so they can work with their doctors to find appropriate treatments for those suffering from Lyme disease,” said Delegate Comstock.
Lyme disease is the fastest growing vector-borne infectious disease in the United States today. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”), it is the sixth fastest growing disease in the U.S. This disease, typically caused by the bite of a tick, has reached epidemic levels in many counties in Virginia. Most experts agree that reported cases are likely to represent only a tenth of the actual number of cases.
Senator Dick Black said, “Lyme Disease is a serious problem in my district. I know many people who have suffered with Lyme because it was not properly diagnosed. The long-term suffering caused by this disease can usually be avoided with early diagnosis and treatment. This is what I am looking to address with this bill. I look forward to working with the National Capital Lyme Disease Association to get this important measure passed.”
When detected early, the disease is considered curable with a limited course of antibiotics, typically 30 days. Unfortunately, too often diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease are hindered by the limited sensitivity of current tests and the general lack of awareness of the prevalence of the disease in Virginia, even among physicians. Attorney Susan R. Green said, “Early detection is key! These bills will serve to insure that patients receive the information that the Labs intended. This information is vital to their diagnosis, care and treatment.”
The National Capital Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Association, an organization with over 3,000 members, including eleven chapters covering the entire state of Virginia endorses the bill. http://www.natcaplyme.org/chapters/ “The Lyme Disease Testing Information Disclosure Bill is necessary to improve treatment options for patients. With the raised awareness it will create, many Virginians can be spared the devastating disability that can occur when the disease is not discovered in time for effective treatment,” said Monte Skall, its Executive Director.
Early symptoms of Lyme disease may include headache, stiff neck, fever, muscle aches, and fatigue. If left untreated or treatment is delayed, the disease can become chronic with serious, debilitating complications. A few examples include: joint pain and swelling, heart disease; neurological problems such as Bell’s palsy, dizziness, irritability, ADHD-like symptoms, cognitive dysfunction, muscle weakness and neuropathy.
The State of Massachusetts (US) have commissioned a report to encourage improvements in testing & ensure patients get proper cover by insurance companies.
Putting pressure on testing:
Development of new tests could address a number of diagnostic gaps, and could include:
(1) improving direct methods for detecting Borrelia burgdorferi (as opposed to antibody-based tests),
(2) improving the current serology diagnostic testing algorithm or developing single serology tests,
(3) improving test sensitivity, specificity, and rapidity throughout all stages of disease, and
(4) developing tests that can be used to measure response to treatment.
Improving test methods could improve disease surveillance. However, test development requires significant investment and resources, and occurs in academic and/or commercial settings, rather than within the state government or public health laboratory setting. At the very least, existing modalities should be standardized for all laboratories providing clinical laboratory support in Massachusetts. In addition, health care providers should be educated on the limitations of serology, particularly on the concept of pre-test probability and its influence on predictive value.
Putting pressure on insurance:
While some patients who contract Lyme disease in Massachusetts are treated effectively;numerous other patients encounter issues surrounding receiving adequate treatment while others encounter difficultly accessing their prescribed treatment often due to denials from insurance companies and the high costs associated with treatment. In some instances insurance companies have denied patients coverage and in some cases approved medications only to later repeal coverage and demand re-payment from the patient. This is happening to many of our Massachusetts families, and has been noted by at least two treating physicians and one home-infusion company. Note that at least one health insurer has the following policy posted on its website: “prior authorization is not a guarantee of coverage.”
While the Physician Protection Act protects physicians from liability, it is not a guarantee of treatment. We believe however that the Physician Protection Act was intended not only to protect physicians from medical board charges, but also to permit informed consent and to protect the patient’s right to receive treatment. Viewed in this way, it would seem that restrictive Lyme disease insurance guidelines essentially sabotage the intent of the Physician Protection Act, and interfere with patients’ rights to receive treatment. It is for this reason that the Commission recommends that mandatory Lyme disease insurance coverage be enacted in Massachusetts.
In addition to calling for mandatory insurance coverage, the report recommends spreading the word in the medical community that guidelines Lyme treatment are based on limited data, that recommendations regarding antibiotic treatment of patients with persisting or relapsing symptoms are based primarily on the results of one clinical trial, and reminding physicians of a law that protects doctors from facing disciplinary action should they choose to diagnose and treat according to clinical criteria.
When it isn’t recognized right away the disease becomes more serious. Improved laboratory diagnostic methods are also necessary, according to the commission’s findings.
Added 26th June 2012
New Drug for Chronic Lyme Disease – Will Clinical Trials be Approved?
by lmatthews on June 20, 2012
A new trial is being planned to look at the use of a new drug for chronic inflammation in Lyme disease. If the clinical trial gains FDA approval then the team of investigators will start recruiting Lyme disease patients to take part in a controlled study.
There is still lots of red-tape to deal with before the study commences, but laboratory success with similar agents for HIV/AIDS, Strep and Staph infections mean that there is optimism for this new treatment for chronic Lyme disease.
More at: http://lymediseaseguide.org/new-drug-for-chronic-lyme-disease-will-clinical-trials-be-approved
Tri-Town News – Smith legislation calls for more efforts against Lyme
Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) has announced the introduction of a bill to combat Lyme disease, and thanked original co-sponsors Congressmen Bart Stupak (D-Michigan), Frank Wolf (R-Virginia) and Tim Holden (D-Pennsylvania).
According to a press release, Smith is the sponsor of the “Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education, and Research Act of 2009.”
The measure, H.R. 1179, would expand federal efforts concerning the prevention, education, treatment and research activities related to Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, including the establishment of a Tick-Borne Diseases Advisory Committee.
Smith, Stupak, Wolf and Holden are cochairs of the House Lyme Disease Caucus.
H.R. 1179 authorizes what Smith said is a much-needed increase in total research and education of $100 million over five years. The bill also contains measures to ensure that resources are expended effectively to provide the most benefit to people with Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.
It also seeks improved surveillance and prevention and clinical outcomes research to determine the long-term course of the illness and effectiveness of different treatments. The Tick-Borne Diseases Advisory Committee would ensure coordination and communication among many federal agencies, a broad range of medical professionals, and patients, according to the press release.
“Lyme is one of the most prevalent diseases in the U.S. today,” said Smith. “About 220,000 Americans develop Lyme disease each year, and we suspect that number is a conservative estimate. This bill provides a comprehensive national effort to step up the fight against this ever-growing threat. My state of New Jersey is particularly hard hit.”
While Lyme accounts for 90 percent of tick-borne diseases in the U.S., the same tick species spreads other diseases, such as anaplasmosis and babesiosis. Other tick species spread diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and southern tick-associated illness.
More than 30 affiliate organizations of the Lyme Disease Association Inc., headquartered in Jackson, in Smith’s district, support the measure.
According to the press release, Lyme disease can lead to chronic illness and can affect every system in the body, including the central nervous system. Advanced symptoms include arthritis of weight-bearing joints, neurological and cardiac problems, encephalopathy and memory problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that from 1992 to 2006, the incidence of Lyme disease was highest among children ages 5 to 14.
Insufficient evidence to deny antibiotic treatment to chronic Lyme disease patients
Daniel J. Cameron,
First Medical Associates, Medicine, 175 Main Street, Mount Kisco, NY 10549, USA
Received 5 January 2009; accepted 7 January 2009. Available online 5 March 2009.
The severity, length of illness, and cost of chronic Lyme disease (CLD) have been well described. A number of oral, intravenous, and intramuscular antibiotics have been prescribed for CLD. Surprisingly few antibiotic schedules prescribed for the treatment of CLD have been evaluated in randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials (RCTs). Physicians have increasingly turned to clinical treatment guideline (CPG) panels to judge the mixed results of the evidence. Two CPG panels have looked at the evidence only to reach opposite conclusions: (1) antibiotic therapy for CLD is not effective and (2) antibiotic therapy for CLD is effective. Physicians have been advised by guideline developers to use clinical discretion in diagnosing and treating CLD. Nevertheless, many health insurers – relying exclusively upon only one CPG – have a policy of automatically denying antibiotics to CLD patients regardless of the specifics of each case or the recommendations of the patient’s physician.
This paper examined the eight limitations of the evidence used to conclude that antibiotics therapy for CLD is not effective in forming the following hypothesis: insufficient evidence to deny antibiotic treatment to CLD patients.
Evidence for the Hypothesis
There are eight limitations that support the hypothesis: (1) the power of the evidence is inadequate to draw definite conclusions, (2) the evidence is too heterogeneous to make strong recommendations, (3) the risk to an individual of facing a long-term debilitating illness has not been considered, (4) the risk to society of a growing chronically ill population has not been considered, (5) treatment delay has not been considered as a confounder, (6) co-infections have not been considered as a confounder, (7) the design of RCTs did not address the range of treatment options in an actual practice, and (8) the findings cannot be generalized to actual practice.
Implications of the hypotheses
This hypothesis suggests that physicians should consider the limitations of the evidence before denying antibiotic treatment for CLD. Physicians who deny antibiotic treatment to CLD patients might inform their patients that there are some clinicians who disagree with that position, and then offer to refer them for a second opinion to a doctor who could potentially present a different point of view. The hypothesis also suggests that health care insurers should consider the limitations of the evidence before adopting policies that routinely deny antibiotic treatment for CLD patients and should expand coverage of CLD to include clinical discretion for specific clinical situations.
Evidence for the hypothesis
The power of the evidence is inadequate to draw definite conclusions
The evidence is too heterogeneous to make strong recommendations
The risk to an individual of facing a long-term debilitating illness has not been considered
The risk to society of a growing chronically ill population has not been considered
Treatment delay has not been considered as a confounder
Coinfections have not been considered as a confounder
The design of RCTs did not address the range of treatment options in an actual practice
The findings cannot be generalized to actual practice
Test of the hypothesis
Conflict of interest statement
House passes chronic Lyme disease bill
By Brian Lockhart
Updated: 04/30/2009 10:39:24 PM EDT
http://www.connpost.com/ci_12267343 (link now broken but kept for reference!)
HARTFORD — Since 1997, Kent Haydock has led efforts to manage Darien’s deer population and stop the spread of tick-borne Lyme disease.
Having known several people who suffered from the illness, and having been treated for it twice himself, he cannot believe there is a national debate over the existence of chronic Lyme disease.
“Why are people saying there’s no such thing?” Haydock said.
He was glad to learn Thursday the state House of Representatives took a strong stand on the issue. In a 137-0 vote, members passed legislation to reassure doctors they will not face retaliation if they choose to diagnose chronic Lyme disease and treat it with long-term antibiotics.
The measure heads to the state Senate.
“It comes down on the side of people who suffer from Lyme in this big debate,” said state Rep. William Tong, D-Stamford, a bill co-sponsor. “It says the scientific community can have that debate, but we’re not going to let anybody else go without treatment.”
Discovered in the mid-1970s in Connecticut, Lyme disease is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected blacklegged ticks.
Symptoms can include fever, headache, fatigue and a rash. If untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system.
The commonly accepted treatment is up to 28 days of antibiotics.
Some patients — including relatives of state Reps. Kim Fawcett, D-Fairfield, and Peggy Reeves, D-Wilton, who helped spearhead the bill — are convinced they suffer from chronic Lyme disease and need extended courses of antibiotic treatment.
Although the state Department of Public Health does not expressly forbid long-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease sufferers, the national Infectious Diseases Society has dismissed chronic Lyme disease as a myth.
In a February letter to Connecticut legislators, Anne Gershon, president of the Virginia-based society, wrote that chronic Lyme disease has been promoted by “a small group of physicians,” and “there are no convincing published scientific data” supporting its existence.
She also cautioned about the hazards of long-term antibiotic use.
Those who believe in chronic Lyme disease argue the society’s position makes physicians in Connecticut and nationwide fearful of being reported to the health department if they choose to recognize and treat chronic Lyme.
“There is a ‘chill effect’ ” on doctors, said state Rep. Jason Bartlett, D-Bethel.
The chronic Lyme disease debate reached a fever pitch in Connecticut in recent years because of a case involving Dr. Charles Ray Jones, a New Haven pediatrician renowned for treating the illness. In December 2007, the state Medical Examining Board, responding to an investigation by the Department of Public Health, fined Jones $10,000 and put him on probation for two years for diagnosing children with Lyme disease and treating them with antibiotics before examining them.
Jones is appealing his case.
In 2008, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced an anti-trust investigation of the Infectious Disease Society uncovered “serious flaws” in how the group crafted 2006 Lyme disease guidelines, including an effort to “block” scientists and physicians with opposing views.
The society has convened a new panel to consider updated guidelines.
Fawcett said Connecticut’s legislation was developed in consultation with the state Department of Public Health, which had expressed concerns early on, and the Connecticut State Medical Society.
A health department spokesman could not be reached for comment Thursday. The medical society has stated it is not taking a position on chronic Lyme disease, but it backs the legislation because it supports the right of doctors to treat patents as they deem fit.
The society’s support of the legislation helped convince state Rep. John Hetherington, R-New Canaan, to vote in favor of the chronic Lyme disease bill Thursday.
“I had heard from several doctors who had said it was against good medical practice to apply antibiotics over an unlimited time,” Hetherington said. “I was incorrect in assuming the weight of medical authority was against this bill.”
Asked for a response to the House passage of the bill, Steve Baragona, the Infectious Disease Society’s communications officer, referred to Gershon’s previous letter.
Haydock said the bill would go a long way to providing relief for Lyme disease sufferers.
“Connecticut is the worst state [for Lyme], and Fairfield and New Haven counties are the worst in the state,” Haydock said. “It’s just devastating to hear these doctors can’t prescribe what they know is correct.”
Sources: 2/6/09 Public Hearing Testimony
OLR Bill Analysis sHB 6200 (as amended by House “A”)*
AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF LONG-TERM ANTIBIOTICS FOR THE TREATMENT OF LYME DISEASE.
Beginning July 1, 2009, this bill allows a licensed physician to prescribe, administer, or dispense long-term antibiotic therapy to a patient for a therapeutic purpose that eliminates the infection or controls the patient’s symptoms if (1) a clinical diagnosis is made that the patient has Lyme disease or has symptoms consistent with such a diagnosis and (2) the physician documents the diagnosis and treatment in the patient’s medical record.
Also beginning July 1, 2009, the bill prohibits (1) the Department of Public Health from initiating disciplinary action against a physician and (2) the Connecticut Medical Examining Board from taking disciplinary action solely because the physician prescribed, administered, or dispensed long-term antibiotic therapy to a patient clinically diagnosed with Lyme disease. The physician must document the clinical diagnosis and treatment in the patient’s record.
The bill specifies that, subject to the limits on discipline of physicians treating Lyme disease established by the bill, it does not limit the ability of the Connecticut Medical Examining Board to take disciplinary action for other reasons against physicians, including entering into a consent order, for violations of existing law concerning their practice of medicine.
*House Amendment “A” (1) specifies that the physician’s prescribing and administering long-term antibiotic therapy must be for therapeutic purposes that eliminates the infection or controls the symptoms; (2) specifies that a Lyme disease determination by a physician must be (a) based on a medical history and physical examination alone or (b) in conjunction with testing supporting the determination; (3) clarifies that the bill allows the Medical Examining Board to take disciplinary action against physicians for other reasons; and (4) makes technical changes.
The following is an excerpt of a June 21, 2009 article by Jack Sanders in the Ridgefield Press.com:
Governor M. Jodi Rell said Sunday she has signed a bill allowing doctors to prescribe long-term antibiotics in the treatment of persistent Lyme disease – outside of standard guidelines – without fear of sanctions from state health regulators if the patient’s clinical diagnosis of the tick-borne disease and treatment have been documented by a licensed physician.
“Doctors in Connecticut – the absolute epicenter of Lyme disease – can continue to do what is best for their patients suffering from this complex illness. I think most people know someone who has been infected,” Governor Rell said. “The bill also recognizes that Lyme disease patients must have the freedom to choose which remedy or regimen best meets their needs.”
House Bill 6200, which gained broad bipartisan support in the Legislature, was prompted by an ongoing debate in the medical community. Some health organizations have questioned the existence of chronic Lyme disease and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has cautioned against the long-term use of antibiotics. Some physicians were hesitant to treat patients outside the IDSA guidelines because of potential reprimands from medical boards and insurance companies.
“Doctors will have the right to use treatment guidelines based on their clinical experience and best medical judgment,” Governor Rell said. “This bill does not, however, shield any physician who provides substandard care.”
NATCAPLYME BOARD MEETS WITH CDC REPRESENTATIVES
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, June 25, 2009–Twelve members of the board of the National Capital Lyme and Tick-borne Disease Association met with Dr. Ben Beard from the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Ft. Collins office and Sarah Wiley from the CDC’s Atlanta office to exchange information and discuss their concerns related to Lyme and tick-borne diseases. A planned three-hour meeting extended to nearly four.
Dr. Beard began the meeting with a presentation which included an overview of the organizational structure of the CDC and many statistical charts indicating the increasing cases of Lyme which define the disease as an epidemic. He presented the CDC’s seven-part strategic plan for dealing with the disease, which we will make available to you on our website next week. The presentation stretched to nearly two hours, since many board members responded to his invitation to ask questions during his talk.
Board members then presented their concerns during the next two hours, covering the following topics: (1) prevention using the Four Poster technique; (2) CDC website links to IDSA; (3) CDC changes in website information on Lyme testing; (4) distribution of more and balanced public information; (5) problems with Lyme testing; (6) tick testing; (7) misuse of the CDC case definition; (8) consistency of use of terms for ongoing or chronic Lyme; (9) surveillance reporting issues; (10) the need for Lyme disease to become a high priority in research; and (11) issues concerning the use of CDC materials in legal cases.
NatCapLyme responded quickly to the invitation that the CDC extended less than a month ago. The representatives of both groups expressed thanks for the opportunity to have the useful interchange of concerns and information.
Research Foundation for Tick-Borne Diseases to Fund Pilot Studies on Lyme Disease and Spotted Fever
The National Research Fund for Tick-Borne Diseases (NRFTD) announced that it has awarded grants totaling $240,000 to four investigators to study key aspects of Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The NRFTD is the nation’s only non-profit organization dedicated primarily to funding scientific research in the rapidly expanding field of tick-borne infections.
“We are immensely grateful to our donors for providing the resources to fund these studies,” said Carl Brenner, a member of the NRFTD’s Research Board. “Our hope is that these innovative projects will produce findings that quickly translate into benefits for patients. The NRFTD’s projects are selected not only for the immediate scientific value they offer, but also for their potential to lead to further work that will enable researchers and clinicians to find answers to these serious tick-borne illnesses.”
Grant winners were selected following a rigorous peer-review process by the NRFTD’s distinguished five-member Scientific Advisory Board using guidelines akin to those established by the National Institutes of Health. Four ad hoc reviewers from prestigious national academic institutions provided additional expertise in the review of the applications.
Dr. Stephen Barthold of the Center of Comparative Medicine at the University of California in Davis has been awarded an NRFTD grant to continue his investigations into the ability of the Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, to survive antibiotic treatment in a mouse model. Previous work by Dr. Barthold’s laboratory has shown that B. burgdorferi can persist in an infectious but non-cultivatable state in mice for at least 90 days after the animals have been treated with ceftriaxone, a powerful antimicrobial often used to treat Lyme disease in humans. These bacteria can then be acquired by ticks and subsequently transmitted to other mice. In his NRFTD project, Dr. Barthold will attempt to verify these findings with additional strains of the Lyme bacterium and investigate the long-term fate of these organisms. Special fluorescence techniques will be employed to discern the morphology and location of the spirochetes and, hopefully, lay the groundwork for determining definitively whether these bacteria are capable of causing persistent disease. It is possible that the findings from this study could have a profound impact on current conceptualizations and treatment paradigms for human Lyme disease.
Also studying the fate of B. burgdorferi in mice after antibiotic treatment is Dr. Linda Bockenstedt of Yale University’s Department of Internal Medicine. Dr. Bockenstedt’s study will employ multiphoton microscopy, a cutting-edge form of imaging that permits the visualization of cells and bacteria in tissues of living laboratory animals. Using this technique, Dr. Bockenstedt will be able to study the behavior of B. burgdorferi spirochetes in live anesthetized mice and examine in real-time the effects of antibiotics on spirochete populations within the infected animals. These studies will provide insight into how the Lyme bacteria move between the tick and the mammal, and may yield important information with implications for the treatment of Lyme disease in humans.
The third NRFTD grant has been awarded to Dr. Melissa Caimano of the Department of Medicine at the University of Connecticut Health Center. Dr. Caimano’s project will investigate in detail how B. burgdorferi transits from ticks to mammalian hosts during tick feeding. Recent work by Dr. Caimano and others has shown that the migration of the bacteria out of the ticks’ midgut is considerably more complex than previously recognized: During tick feeding, spirochetes undergo a burst of replication, forming non-motile networks that adhere to differentiating tick midgut epithelial cells and only later in the feeding process become individually motile forms. Dr. Caimano will investigate the interplay between B. burgdorferi and the tick midgut epithelium; this work will likely further the long-term objective of identifying bacterial and tick gene products and regulatory pathways that enable dissemination of the Lyme spirochete within both ticks and mammals. It is possible that this work could ultimately lead to novel vaccine strategies that block the exit of spirochetes from the tick midgut during feeding.
The fourth NRFTD grant has been awarded to Dr. Gustavo Valbuena of the University of Texas Medical Branch, who will develop and test a novel animal model of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, the most common fatal tick-borne infection in the United States. Dr. Valbuena’s objective is to create a “humanized” mouse model by transplanting human immunological cells into laboratory mice. This will make it possible to then transplant human skin into the mice, expose them to Rickettsia rickettsii, the causative agent of spotted fever in the United States, and study the pathogenesis of the disease. Because little is known about the specific processes that determine disease outcome and severity in Rocky Mountain spotted fever, the development of a viable animal model that mimics human disease is crucial for increasing understanding of these mechanisms. An additional complication in studying spotted fever is that endothelial cells, the main targets of Rickettsia bacteria, are different in culture than they are in vivo (i.e., in animals themselves). Dr. Valbuena’s model will ensure that these cells will remain in their natural state as the pathogenic processes are investigated.
All four NRFTD projects are expected to begin in May of 2009 and to be completed in one year. For more information visit http://www.nrftd.org/.
About the National Research Fund for Tick-Borne Diseases, Inc.
The NRFTD is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization devoted strictly to raising funds in support of scientific research on tick-borne diseases. It aims to advance scientific understanding of these complicated infections by sponsoring innovative research at premier institutions throughout the world.
The NRFTD was founded in 1999 to address the complex and critical research questions raised by thousands of patients afflicted with emerging tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease, relapsing fever, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis. The need for answers has grown markedly as Lyme disease continues to spread throughout the country and as other tick-borne infections have been recognized as public health threats.
For more information about the NRFTD, or to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit http://www.nrftd.org/.
Carl Brenner, Research Board
National Research Fund for Tick-borne Diseases, Inc. (NRFTD)
Health Check: Lyme Disease Legislation Jan 2010
http://www.wset.com/news/stories/0110/695721.html (link now broken but kept for reference!)
A Virginia Delegate has introduced legislation this session designed to help doctors treat Lyme Disease, without fear. It’s this week’s Health Check.
Right now there’s a controversy over antibiotics and how long Lyme patients should be on them.
Infectious diseases specialists say no more than four weeks, other Lyme Disease professionals say you could need months, even years of antibiotics, but some doctors are being persecuted for prescribing longer term use.
Delegate Tom Rust’s bill would allow long term therapy, and specifies that doctors cannot face disciplinary action solely for prescribing it.
Click here for more info:
A high school senior’s research paper on Lyme disease is getting national recognition for proposing a method of early detection that cuts diagnosis time from a month to mere minutes.
“We’re going to develop a new diagnostic test so that we can detect it earlier and more accurately,” said Temple Douglas, 18, of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria.
Douglas was recently named one of 40 finalists nationwide in the Intel Science Talent Search, an annual contest sponsored by Intel Corporation that scouts for research conducted by high school seniors in the fields of science, health and technology.
She received a $5,000 scholarship for the ranking, a laptop and a chance to compete in March for a $100,000 scholarship in Washington, D.C.
Douglas said her research was inspired by three family members’ struggles with Lyme disease.
“My sister and brother had joint pain, but my mom had more severe symptoms,” she said. Almost half of the cases of Lyme disease in Virginia are reported in Loudoun County, where Douglas lives. A resident of Lucketts, she buses 90 minutes to her Fairfax County school each day.
Students at Thomas Jefferson are required to do a senior research paper. Douglas chose Lyme disease as the subject of hers.
“At the end of the summer, I was thinking of the testing and its inaccuracies and what could be improved,” she said. Currently, blood tests are used to detect Lyme disease.
“Now, you have to wait for antibodies to show up [in your blood]. That can take up to three weeks,” Douglas said. Her research paper, “The Application of Hydrogel Nanoparticles for Early Lyme Disease Diagnosis,” proposes using a urine test instead.
“Nanoparticles are added to the urine to allow you to see the bacteria,” she said.
Staff and teachers at Thomas Jefferson said they are not surprised by Douglas’s successful ranking.
“As a student, Temple was very inquisitive and enthusiastic,” said teacher Robert Latham, the school’s science and engineering fair coordinator. “The choice of what to do after high school or college rests with Temple, but from the experience gained in her scientific project work and from the maturity developed in writing a scholarly scientific research paper, she has demonstrated high-level skills that would make her very successful as a research scientist or in a related field.
“I would like to see her win a Nobel Prize.”
Douglas has already been accepted to several colleges, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Principal Evan Glazer had similar praise for Douglas, saying, “Her work is inspiring because she pursued groundbreaking work in a topic that could help her family.”
Twelve of Douglas’s fellow students were named semi-finalists in the contest earlier this month, each receiving a $1,000 prize for themselves and $1,000 for their school.
Last year, two Jefferson High School students ranked as finalists in the Intel competition, Alexander Kim and Narendra Tallapragada.
Of the D.C. conference in March, Douglas said she is excited and nervous to compete, adding that she would find it “neat” to meet President Obama.
“The kids last year got to meet Obama,” she said.
Douglas said she hopes to one day assist in the efforts to find a cure for cancer.
Feb 11 2010
An injection called VGV-L has been developed to treat Lyme disease, an illness that saw a 100% increase in CDC-confirmed cases from 1991 to 2006. Animal studies have been completed with positive results. we are now in the process of introducing our research to the FDA.
This research was supported by grants from two not-for-profit organizations that saw the promise in our approach. Last year, Time for Lyme provided the University of Colorado with $116,000 dedicated to our research. Turn the Corner Foundation contributed another $75,000 to the university during 2009, enabling us to reach this phase of development.
The proposed therapy, like several others in our R&D pipeline, is based on TPT and uses synthetic peptides to “trick” cells, making them vulnerable to the body’s natural immune response mechanism.
CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire House lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday that would make it easier for doctors to treat Lyme disease with long-term antibiotics. Wednesday, February 17, 2010.
Chronic Lyme patients win reprieve
Physicians should not fear reprisal for prescribing long-term antibiotics
by Debra Neutkens
Tuesday, March 16, 2010 6:33 PM CDT
MINNEAPOLIS — It was a bitter pill to swallow, but members of the Minnesota Medical Practice Board agreed to look the other way when it comes to disciplining physicians who treat chronic Lyme disease with long-term antibiotics.
New test for Lyme
Published : Monday, 29 Mar 2010, 5:12 PM EDT
* Jocelyn Maminta
Milford, Conn. (WTNH) – A new test will help diagnose Lyme disease earlier, leading to more effective treatment.
As warm weather approaches so does the season of ticks and Lyme disease. Infected deer ticks are the culprits.
“This is a definitive molecular diagnosis of Lyme disease,” explained Dr. Sin Hang Lee, Milford Hospital.
It took a year and a half in the research lab at Milford Hospital for Dr. Lee to develop a definitive way to diagnose Lyme disease using the DNA of the Lyme bacteria.
“This is the first using DNA sequencing to confirm diagnosis of Lyme spirochete DNA,” Dr. Lee said.
But the window of opportunity is short. Key to this test is when the blood is drawn. Dr. Lee says it should be done on the onset of symptoms – clear evidence the bacteria is in a patient’s blood.
“Every patient is different because from the time of the tick bite to symptoms, it may take three days, it may take 30 days,” he said.
The sample is amplified twice to ensure a DNA match. Dr. Lee points out if there’s a positive result it leads to early treatment.
More on the test has been publishes in the latest American Journal of Clinical Pathology.
New Test May Simply and Rapidly Detect Lyme Disease
ScienceDaily (June 18, 2010) — Researchers from the National Institutes of Health have developed a more sensitive test for Lyme disease that may offer earlier detection and lower cost. The details are reported in the June 2010 issue of the journal Clinical and Vaccine Immunology.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to animals and humans by deer ticks. A skin lesion at the site of the bite is one of the first signs of infection followed by potential neurological, cardiac, and rheumatological complications upon entering the bloodstream. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends a two-step blood test for diagnosing the disease, however, several limitations include low sensitivity during the early stages of infection, significant time and expense, and an inability to distinguish between active and prior infection.
In prior studies the luciferase immunoprecipitation system (LIPS) test showed promise at detecting a variety of infectious agents including viral and fungal pathogens. Here, LIPS was evaluated for its ability to detect antibody responses to Borrelia burgdorferi proteins in blood samples taken from a patient group (some healthy and some with Lyme disease) as well as a control group. Results showed that diagnostic levels of 98% to 100% were achieved using LIPS in conjunction with the synthetic protein VOVO.
“These results suggest that screening by the LIPS test with VOVO and other B. burgdorferi antigens offers an efficient quantitative approach for evaluation of the antibody responses in patients with Lyme disease,” say the researchers.
NEWS: Massachusetts governor signs Lyme doctor protection law
02 July, 2010
The governor of Massachusetts has signed a bill providing protection to doctors who prescribe long term antibiotics for Lyme disease. The new law gives doctors discretion to diagnose and treat according to their best clinical judgment.
Text of Massachusetts law signed by governor:
SECTION 47. Chapter 112 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 12CC the following section:-
Section 12DD. (a) As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:-
“Long-term antibiotic therapy” the administration of oral, intramuscular or intravenous antibiotics singly or in combination, for periods of time in excess of 4 weeks.
“Lyme disease” the clinical diagnosis of a patient by a physician, licensed under section 2 of chapter 112 of the presence of signs or symptoms compatible with acute infection with Borrelia burgdorferi; late stage, persistent or chronic infection with Borrelia burgdorferi; complications related to such infection or with such other strains of Borrelia that after adoption of this bill, are recognized by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a cause of Lyme disease. “Lyme disease” shall also include an infection that meets the surveillance criteria set forth by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease that does not meet the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveillance criteria but presents other acute and chronic signs or symptoms of Lyme disease as determined by the treating physician. Such clinical diagnosis shall be based on knowledge obtained
through medical history and physical examination only, or in conjunction with testing that provides supportive data for such clinical diagnosis.
(b) A licensed physician may prescribe, administer or dispense long-term antibiotic therapy for a therapeutic purpose to eliminate infection or to control a patient’s symptoms upon making a clinical diagnosis that the patient has Lyme disease or displays symptoms consistent with a clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease, if such clinical diagnosis and treatment are documented in the patient’s medical record by the prescribing licensed physician.
£2.5m for Edinburgh University to tackle ticks
9 August 2010 Last updated at 13:21 GMT
Tick Ticks can transmit number of severe and potentially deadly diseases to humans including Lyme disease Scientists at Edinburgh University have been awarded £2.5m to tackle the growing health risk posed by ticks.
Campers and hikers have long known the misery ticks can cause.
Now scientists at the Roslin Institute aim to find new ways to prevent diseases transmitted by the tiny insect-like creatures.
The university will establish the Roslin Wellcome Trust Tick Cell Biobank with the funding from the Wellcome Trust.
It says the biobank will house the world’s largest collection of tick cell lines, enabling scientists to carry out advanced research.
The scientists hope to understand how viruses and bacteria, which are transmitted by ticks and which cause a range of human diseases, can survive for long periods of time within ticks without damaging them.
In parts of the world, ticks can transmit a number of severe and potentially deadly diseases to humans and animals, including Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
In Britain, cases of Lyme disease are dramatically increasing each year.
In the rest of Europe, tick-borne encephalitis is now endemic in 27 countries, including Germany and Croatia.
Tick numbers are surging in Europe and scientists warn that changing climate patterns and increasing globalisation could enable them to spread into new areas.
The Tick Cell Biobank team and collaborators from seven other European countries have received further funding from the European Union to train a new generation of scientists specialising in ticks and their related diseases.
Project leader Professor John Fazakerley said: “Tick-transmitted infections are likely to be increasingly important in the future. Understanding these diseases and training scientists to undertake research on them is important for both human and animal heath”.
TIME FOR LYME RESEARCHER KAREN NEWELL EXPLORES CHRONIC INFLAMMATION
Research published in the October 2010 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology
Work supported by a grant from Greenwich-based Time for Lyme appears in the October 2010 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. The article isentitled “TLR-mediated B-cell Activation Results in Ectopic CLIP Expression that promotes B-cell-dependent Inflammation” by Dr. M. Karen Newell and her team members from the University of Colorado, Texas A and M Health Sciences Center, University of Ottawa School of Medicine, and the Montreal Neurological Institute.
Proteins on the surface of the Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia, can behave as “toll ligands,” that rev up the immune system by attaching to toll ligand receptors (TLR) on the surface of white blood cells. These are the cells that are responsible to fight off infection. That attachment induces the production of a small, external protein called “CLIP,” that traps and impedes other white blood cells from reining in the production of antibodies in the body. If “CLIP” does not detach, antibodies are cranked out in abundance, and oftentimes nonspecifically, resulting in widespread inflammation in the body. (A peptide or protein product manufactured by Viral Genetics may have the capacity to detach CLIP and dampen the inflammatory response.)
The study may shed light on the chronic inflammatory response and symptoms shared by a significant subset of Lyme disease patients. “We are excited to learn about a mechanism that has the potential to offer new therapeutic interventions to chronic inflammatory diseases,” Newell stated. “This “auto-immune” reaction of sorts may be partly responsible for symptoms of chronic Lyme disease,” adds Dr. Kotsoris, Medical Director at TFL.
Blumenthal Takes On Ticks
by Thomas MacMillan | Jul 18, 2011 2:41 pm
Blumenthal and two other senators Monday introduced the Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education, and Research Act, a bill which would target the pernicious Lyme disease, named after the Connecticut town where it was first discovered.
The legislation would provide money for research on the diagnosis and spread of the tick-borne disease. The Ag Station has been involved in such research for years, and could see an increase in funding as a result of the bill.
“I’ve seen firsthand the damage done by Lyme disease,” Blumenthal said. The disease often goes undiagnosed and untreated for years, leaving people with chronic symptoms like headaches and fatigue. There were 30,000 cases of Lyme disease reported nationwide in 2009, but the true number of infected people is probably 10 times that, because it’s so under-reported, Blumenthal said.
The new bill would do several things: establish a tick-borne disease advisory committee through the U.S. secretary of health and human services, direct Health and Human Services to develop better diagnostic tools and collect better information on the prevalence of Lyme disease, and increase public education on Lyme disease.
Virginia Task Force
Commonwealth of Virginia
The Governor’s Task Force on Lyme Disease
Adopted Unanimously on June 30, 2011
A 19 page report was published outlining recommendations made for diagnosis, treatment, public education & prevention, and children.
Lyme Disease Research, Legislation Allows More Aggressive Treatments for Sufferers
Last year, research by Williamson, several of the researchers in his lab and collaborators at UNT’s Denton campus, was published in Emerging Infectious Diseases exploring the type, frequency and distribution of tick-borne pathogens and bacterial agents in Texas. Their research showed that people in Texas and the Southern U.S. may experience tick-related illnesses very similar to Lyme disease that seem to be transmitted by ticks other than the normal Lyme vector. And those suffering from these illnesses have the right to be treated for tick-borne diseases.
That’s where Texas legislation passed in the latest session will make a difference. Until June 2011, the few physicians in Texas who treated Lyme-like symptoms and reported it were subject to being called quacks – or worse. Because the CDC and Texas Medical Board have claimed that Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases don’t exist in Texas ticks, physicians who aggressively treated individuals exhibiting symptoms of Lyme disease feared having their licenses revoked.
Standard treatment following a tick bite would be two weeks of antibiotics. However, longer-term, more aggressive treatment with antibiotics can help prevent Lyme disease in some people — like Dave Claunch’s wife, who developed chronic Lyme disease. Only following a year of strong antibiotic treatment is she feeling well enough to get on with a normal daily life. But Claunch and his wife had to go outside of Texas and fight a disbelieving medical board to get the antibiotic treatment.
The research that Williamson is conducting in the DNA labs at the UNT Health Science Center is helping the state medical board and physicians better understand tick-borne diseases and create treatments that will prevent the debilitating effects that Claunch’s wife had to experience. The new legislation allows physicians in Texas to treat chronic Lyme disease and attend continuing medical education courses to learn more about the disease.
Alessandra Luchini: nanoparticle traps detect diseases before our bodies do
Interview by Ian Tucker The Observer, Sunday 23 October 2011
Methods to detect cancers may also be used for Lyme Disease…
In years to come, is this something that could be available in hospitals?
That’s the hope we have. The first clinical trial is on the detection of Lyme disease. A fraction of patients get a skin rash but for those without the rash it is very difficult to diagnose. So with the particles we are able to capture the antigens that come from the spirochaete that is the causative agent of Lyme disease. If we see in the urine a piece of the bacteria of the spirochaete, we are sure that the patient has Lyme disease. We are gathering all the evidence and then we will need to go first for FDA approval before it is available in clinics.
How much earlier will you be able to detect Lyme disease?
Lyme disease has a window of two to three weeks before seroconversion [production of antibodies in the host blood, indicating infection]. With our tests, we’re able to detect it before seroconversion, because we’re not looking for the antibodies, we just look for the spirochaete. I would say here, yes, by weeks, and earlier diagnosis would be beneficial for the prognosis.