*Updated Jul 2016
Reducing Chronic Pain in Post-Treatment Lyme Syndrome: a Brain Imaging and Treatment Study
ENROLLMENT START DATE: Feb 2016 Columbia Univ
Background. At least 5-15% of patients with Lyme disease (7,500-45,000 new cases a year) develop Post-treatment Lyme Syndrome (PTLS) – debilitating residual symptoms that last months to years, even after having received antibiotic treatment. Often patients with PTLS experience chronic pain in their muscles or joints or nerves.
- Do patients with PTLS benefit from treatment with a medicine that reduces central pain? Because many PTLS patients have pain that persists despite antibiotics and because we know that medicines which modulate the pain pathways in the brain can help to reduce or eliminate pain, we plan to treat patients with a medicine that is FDA approved for the treatment of pain. This medicine is known as Milnacipran (the trade name is “Savella”); this medicine is not addictive and it has been shown to reduce chronic pain by its multiple actions on pain pathways. All patients in the study will be treated with this FDA approved medicine.
- Second, we wish to test whether the pain can be improved even further by adding a medicine which is known to modulate the glutamate transmission involved with pain in the brain. This medicine – D-Cycloserine – is actually an antibiotic, currently FDA approved for the treatment of tuberculosis. Because of its action on glutamate receptors, we are hypothesizing that it will help to decrease pain even further in patients with Lyme-related pain. In order to test this hypothesis, after 6 weeks of being on Milnacipran, all patients will then be given an additional treatment – either D-Cycloserine or a placebo pill (a placebo is a pill that does not contain any active medication.) At the end of 12 weeks, we will then evaluate improvement compared to when the patient started in the study using the same clinical and neuroimaging (fMRI) tests.
- Finally, we want to know whether patients with PTLS have over-active central pain circuits in the brain. Because pain is processed through the brain’s pain circuits, we wish to examine whether people suffering from PTLS have hyper-active pain circuits that make them more sensitive to pain than those who have normally-active pain circuits. To do this, we will be comparing patients with PTLS to healthy volunteers by conducting careful neurologic and brain imaging (fMRI) studies.
We hope that this study will provide valuable information about how the brain processes pain signals in PTLS and about whether this treatment approach is effective.
This study will take place at Columbia University Medical Center: 1051 Riverside Drive, New York, NY.
Recently completed studies inc:
Laboratory Testing in Chronic Lyme Disease
Lyme Disease Community Blood Screening Study
Proteomic Studies of CSF of patients with neurologic Lyme disease
Brain SPECT Imaging in Chronic Lyme Disease
Brain Imaging and Treatment of Persistent Lyme Encephalopathy
University of New Haven professor’s research focuses on ‘horrible’ Lyme disease
Eva Sapi, an associate professor and University Research Scholar in UNH’s Department of Biology and Environmental Science, heads the university’s Lyme disease research group, working with more than 10 student researchers at a time
Together, they do groundbreaking research into the way borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, can rearrange its structure, including by forming a slime-like “biofilm” that she believes enables the disease to “hide” during efforts to treat it with antibiotics.
The research investigates ways in which biofilm might allow borrelia to resist harsh environmental conditions such as antibiotic treatments.
Sapi’s work includes clinical trials with Curza, a Provo, Utah, pharmaceutical research company developing a new drug that aims to penetrate the biofilm to more effectively treat the disease.
Having done an initial clinical trial at UNH that found the drug to be 60 percent more effective in treating Lyme disease than traditional antiobiotics, Curza now is entering a second phase that at the University of California, Davis that will test the drug on mice.
But one drug may just be the tip of the iceberg, Sapi suggested.
Over a number of years, “We looked at over 100 different agents. The Curza one was one of them,” Sapi said. But “we found several agents which worked as well.”
One of the agents that worked particularly well as a possible treatment for Lyme disease was, of all things, Stevia, the natural sweetener, Sapi said.
“It actually worked very well for borrelia,” she said. “Bee venom also was very effective. So we have several agents that are at least as effective as the antibiotics.”
Clinical Trial, Bay Area Foundation
At Bay Area Lyme Foundation, we are excited to support a promising new therapy being developed by Stanford University’s BioMaterials and Advanced Drug Delivery (BioADD) Laboratory, now ready for clinical trial. See post below (“Common Allergy Medication May be Effective in Starving and Killing the Bacteria That Causes Lyme Disease”) for more information about this discovery.
How Does the Treatment Work?
This combination therapy leverages an antibiotic in conjunction with an FDA-approved compound already used for other conditions to generate several actions:
- Block Manganese (Mn) from entering the Lyme spirochete, slowing its life-sustaining protein synthesis
- Protect the human immune system from antibiotic toxicity by preserving macrophages responsible for removing cellular debris
- Maximizing the effect of the antibiotic in targeting the harmful bacteria
Thanks to many generous Bay Area Lyme supporters, we have already raised more than $850,000 toward the cost of the clinical trial. Thanks to your support we are making this treatment a reality.
Common Allergy Medication May Be Effective In Starving and Killing the Bacteria That Causes Lyme Disease According to New Study
Portola Valley, CA — A new study funded by the Bay Area Lyme Foundation and conducted by Stanford School of Medicine researchers shows that loratadine, which is a common antihistamine frequently taken to treat allergy symptoms, may be able to help kill Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria associated with Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a potentially debilitating condition with 300,000 new cases in the US each year. The study was published in the Open Access publication Drug Design, Development and Therapy.
“Our results bring us closer to the possibility of discovering the first targeted therapy to treat Lyme disease,” says Jayakumar Rajadas, PhD, Director, Biomaterials and Advanced Drug Delivery Lab (BioADD), Stanford School of Medicine, and lead author of the study. “It’s exciting to see first-hand that our insights into the metabolic activity of this elusive bacteria may give us the ability to actually kill it.”
The results of this new laboratory study show that loratadine (trade name: Claritin®) and specifically its metabolite, desloratadine, are able to prevent manganese (Mn) from entering the cell wall of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, starving the bacteria and causing it to die in test tubes. The antihistamine accomplishes this by inhibiting the bacteria’s transport system, BmtA (Borrelia metal transporter A).
Manganese is required for certain metabolic processes of Borrelia burgdorferi and also plays an important role in numerous biological processes in the human body. Previous research shows that, in general, bacteria scavenge the body for trace metals that circulate in the blood and have developed special adaptations on their cell walls to internalize these metals. These adaptations are called transport proteins, and BmtA is the specialized transport protein for Borrelia burgdorferi. BmtA binds with manganese to bring it into the bacteria, and studies have shown that BmtA and manganese are required to make the bacteria harmful to the human body.
“Because current treatments do not work for everyone and the bacteria that causes Lyme disease offers many treatment challenges, this study offers encouraging insights for researchers, and hope for the 80 million Americans at risk of getting Lyme disease,” Bonnie Crater, founder and Science Committee Chairperson, Bay Area Lyme Foundation, the leading private funder of innovative Lyme disease research in the US. “We are grateful to the BioADD team for their commitment to finding solutions to this difficult disease.”
The Search for Persisters
Lyme disease–causing bacteria can outmaneuver antibiotics in vitro and manipulate the mouse immune system.
The medical community is split on post-treatment Lyme disease and a related condition, commonly called chronic Lyme disease, largely because their associated symptoms cannot be explained by B. burgdorferi-specific antibodies or cultivable bacteria. “With a urinary tract infection or something that’s persistent, you can reculture the bacteria and prove that they’re still there,” said Monica Embers, a microbiologist at Tulane University in New Orleans. “With Borrelia,” she added, “you can’t find them and prove that they’re still there.”
Embers and a colleague last month (July 27) published a study in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, which, along with a separate paper published this May in the same journal, could help explain how some B. burgdorferi might survive antibiotic treatment. Both in vitro studies demonstrated that certain drugs kill most B. burgdorferi, but leave behind a population of persisters—bacteria that are genetically identical to their kin, but become dormant or so slow-growing that they aren’t killed by microbiostatic antibiotics. Kim Lewis, a biochemist at Northeastern University in Boston, who led the May study, noted that persisters differ from antibiotic-resistant bacteria in that they do not have special adaptations that make antibiotics ineffective, they simply survive antibiotic exposure through some other means.
Both Embers and Lewis said they were unsurprised by the presence of these hardy bacteria in increasingly dense cultures of B. burgdorferi. “All bacteria form persisters,” said Lewis. While a 2013 study indicated B. burgdorferi don’t form persisters in vitro, Lewis said the density of bacteria required for such bacteria to emerge wasn’t reached in those experiments.
The observation that B. burgdorferi can form dormant or slow-growing persisters in vitro offers a possible explanation for why scientists have generally been unable to culture the bacteria from antibiotic-treated infected animals, despite being able to transfer and recover the pathogen or its DNA through a tick bite in a process called xenodiagnosis.
“There’s a whole new interest in what are called viable but non-cultivable bacteria,” said Embers. It’s possible, she said, that at some point during infection or in response to antibiotics, B. burgdorferi morphs such that it can no longer be cultured in vitro, forcing scientists to depend on genetic evidence of its presence.
Embers said her group is currently performing RNA sequencing analysis on B. burgdorferi before and after antibiotic treatment to find out how the bacteria may be changing during drug administration and whether persisters can be identified apart from a dormant or slow-growing state. “It’s really important to do this work in vitro,” she said. “But what we’d like to see is a shift to looking in vivo.”
Lewis said he plans to search for B. burgdorferi persisters in a mouse model and determine whether they can be eradicated in vivo by delivering antibiotics in pulses. To date, his group found in vitro evidence to suggest that persisters “wake up” and can become susceptible to antibiotics again when the drugs are washed away. “That, in principle, should be possible to emulate in people,” he said.
Full article available at:
Lyme disease still stuck in controversy, but there is hope
Leslie Mann, Chicago Tribune – Aug 4th 2015
Extract from article….
- The antibodies tests are wrong so often, “you might as well flip a coin,” said Dr. John Aucott, who is developing a Borrelia test at the new Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s rheumatology division.
- One obstacle is the amount of blood needed to find Borrelia, said Dave Ecker, vice president of research and development for Abbott’s Ibis Biosciences, based in Carlsbad, Calif. “It likes to hang out in tissue, not blood.” So Ibis is using a spectrometer to find it in as little as a tablespoon of blood. The next step is to do clinical trials.
- TGen Research Institute in Phoenix is using “next generation sequencing” to identify Borrelia through DNA. “It’s the same technology used by 23andme.com to find your family history, but we’re looking at Borrelia,” said Paul Keim, director of pathogen genomics. Next, TGen will determine the best test specimen to use: blood, tissue or urine.
The current Lyme treatment is a round of common antibiotics. For chronic Lyme disease, doctors prescribe long-term doses.
- Studies by Kim Lewis, at Northeastern University in Boston, show that some Borrelia form persister (dormant) cells that evade antibiotics, so the best way to attack them is pulsing (on and off) instead of continuous use of antibiotics. “The trick is to give the dormant cells time to wake up,” said Lewis. Now that the idea has been proved in animal labs, the next step is to do human trials.
- Scientists at Stanford School of Medicine in Palo Alto, Calif., are taking another approach. After testing 2,000 existing, FDA-approved drugs in silico (by computer), they found loratadine (brand name: Claritin) and desloratadine (Clarinex) starve Borrelia of manganese, which it needs to thrive. The next step is to do clinical trials.
- “We want to kill Borrelia before it reaches humans,” said Mason Kauffman, CEO of Memphis-based US Biologic. In field trials, its rodent bait reduced Lyme-carrying ticks by 76 percent. After rodents eat the bait, their bodies create Lyme antibodies. When ticks bite these host rodents, the antibodies kill Borrelia in the tick. The company has applied for a U.S. Department of Agriculture license.
Singer Avril Lavigne recently talked publicly about how she was bedridden for five months due to Lyme disease and thought she “was dying” because she couldn’t eat, talk or move.
By studying the real-time immune response to the bacteria that causes the disease, a University of Toledo researcher is hoping to help create better treatments so that fewer people have to experience what the songstress did.
“What we are trying to figure out is what ‘tricks’ that the bacteria play so that our immune response can’t clear the infection on its own,” said Dr. Mark Wooten, UT associate professor of microbiology and immunology. “If we figure that out, we will have a better idea of what type of vaccine is needed to prevent this disease, which can be quite debilitating in some patients.”
Previously, when the bacteria was injected into mice, researchers were limited on what they could see and when. Wooten came up with the idea to make the bacteria fluorescent (glow green) so it could be studied in real-time using a high-tech multiphoton microscope.
Wooten uses special mouse strains with fluorescent immune cells, injecting them with the Lyme disease-causing bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi, which is also fluorescent. He then uses high-powered microscopy to observe the fluorescent bacteria in the skin of the living mice to see how they interact with the different immune cells.
Initial findings show that the immune system starts to fight the bacteria, but backs down after a few days, even though large numbers of the bacteria remain. Figuring out why the immune system starts and then stops is crucial to finding a way to treat those infected by Lyme disease, the No. 1 vector-borne disease in the United States that sees an increase this time of year during tick season.
“For the first time we are seeing what the bacteria does in the mice and how the immune cells respond to them,” Wooten said. “We can see where the deficiencies are, which in return allows us to figure out how to improve the immune response in humans.”
“Our latest findings indicate that the bacteria can literally outrun our immune cells within the host,” Wooten said. “We figured they would get in the skin and go hide from our immune response. Actually, we are finding that they don’t hide. They continue to move for months or years, and our immune system isn’t clearing them. Why is that? That is what we hope to unravel.”
How Lyme disease subverts the immune system
Press release from the University of California, Davis:
July 2, 2015
The bacteria that cause Lyme disease are able to trick an animal’s immune system into not launching a full-blown immune response or developing lasting immunity to the disease, report researchers at the University of California, Davis.
The discovery may explain why some human patients remain vulnerable to repeat infections by the same strain of bacteria, especially in regions where Lyme disease is prevalent. It also suggests that blood tests may not be an effective method for detecting previous exposure to Lyme disease, by far the most common vector-borne disease in the United States and Europe.
A quote from the study…
“For months after infection, those germinal centers fail to produce the specific cells — memory B cells and antibody-producing plasma cells — that are crucial for producing lasting immunity. In effect, the bacteria prevent the animal’s immune system from forming a “memory” of the invading bacteria and launching a protective immune response against future infections.”
For full article hop to:
In just over half a year, the Vineyard Center for Clinical Research has completed its first trial and has begun working on three others that are aimed at improving the diagnosis of Lyme disease.
The center operates out of the Vineyard Medical Care building in Vineyard Haven, and relies mostly on center staff members. Lena Prisco, who co-founded the center last fall along with medical center director and owner Michael Loberg, said the idea was to focus on Lyme disease and other diseases that are common on the Vineyard.
Ms. Prisco said cases of Lyme disease are vastly under reported, in large part because the only official diagnosis — a red bull’s eye rash at the point of infection — appears in fewer than half of all cases. Even people with a rash may not have produced enough antibodies for a positive diagnosis.
“The current [test] methods, although they are very specific, they can tend to be insensitive because they depend on an immune response which is variable from person to person,” Ms. Prisco said in an interview this week. “Then it leads to either false negatives or false positives. The danger obviously in this case is a false negative,” she added.
This winter, the center joined a trial by Oxford Immunotec, a global diagnostics company based in Marlborough. The study looks at the response of certain types of white blood cells known as T-cells, rather than antibodies, as an indicator of Lyme disease. Alix Emden, one of two interns working at the center this summer, said that approach “is going to make it a more effective test, for faster results and less ambiguity.” One goal of the study is to develop an FDA-approved Lyme disease testing kit for hospitals. The trial will likely end this fall.
Anna McGlade, another intern working in the lab this summer, added that while antibodies can stay in the body for up to five years, T-cells have a more immediate response to the disease. “So you would be able to determine new infection versus the effects of long-term infection,” she said.
In May the center began collecting samples for a Lyme disease repository funded in part by the Bay Area Lyme Foundation in Portola Valley, Calif. Repositories, or bio-banks, are common for many diseases, but not Lyme disease, Ms. Prisco said. She added that the bio-bank will likely be the center’s most expensive undertaking so far, since it is ongoing. Samples are sent to a certified specimen storage facility in Maryland for researchers to access after an application process.
A third trial that started last week will look at a range of cell types and responses that occur in an acute Lyme infection. That study, in conjunction with Stanford University, will likely continue for five years, in part because it also is limited to patients who present a rash.
All the clinics participating in the three trials will share their data and other results, Ms. Prisco said. She said she will be attempting to grow Lyme bacteria at the center this summer. “It’s notoriously hard to grow,” she said. “For whatever reason it doesn’t seem to survive well in culture methods.”
“We are doing tons of stuff out of a very small space,” Mr. Loberg said, adding that eventually the space will need to expand. “Right now we can make it work by opening up [the clinic] on Saturdays and increasing our hours during the day.”
One goal of the center is to provide job experience for young people on the Island. Mr. Loberg said the medical center has begun training high school students in drawing blood and handling lab samples. With the right kind of fundraising, he said, the center could offer some year-round employment.
Researchers’ discovery may explain difficulty in treating Lyme disease
Science Daily – June 1, 2015
The bacterium that causes Lyme disease forms dormant persister cells, which are known to evade antibiotics, researchers have discovered. This significant finding, they said, could help explain why it’s so difficult to treat the infection in some patients.
Lewis and his colleagues presented their findings in a paper published online last week in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. The research was supported by grants from the Lyme Research Alliance and the National Institutes of Health.
In addition to identifying the presence of these persister cells, Lewis’ team also presented two methods for wiping out the infection–both of which were successful in lab tests. One involved an anti-cancer agent called Mitomycin C, which completely eradicated all cultures of the bacterium in one fell swoop. However, Lewis stressed that, given Mitomycin C’s toxicity, it isn’t a recommended option for treating Lyme disease, though his team’s findings are useful to helping to better understand the disease.
The second approach, which Lewis noted is much more practical, involved pulse-dosing an antibiotic to eliminate persisters. The researchers introduced the antibiotic a first time, which killed the growing cells but not the dormant persisters. But once the antibiotic washed away, the persisters woke up, and before they had time to restore their population the researchers hit them with the antibiotic again. Four rounds of antibiotic treatments completely eradicated the persisters in a test tube.
“This is the first time, we think, that pulse-dosing has been published as a method for eradicating the population of a pathogen with antibiotics that don’t kill dormant cells,” Lewis said. “The trick to doing this is to allow the dormant cells to wake up.”
Lewis is a faculty member in the biology department and directs Northeastern’s Antimicrobial Discovery Center. Over the past decade he has led pioneering work on this specialized class of cells produced by all pathogens known as persisters. Earlier this year, Lewis, biology professor Slava Epstein, and other colleagues published groundbreaking research in Nature presenting a new antibiotic that kills pathogens without encountering any detectable resistance.
*Updated Jul 2015
European space agency grant to lead Highland battle against Lyme disease
A grant from the European Space Agency could help a group of Highland agencies battle a potentially debilitating disease caused by tick bites.
Reports of Lyme disease have increased tenfold in Scotland over the past decade, with the Highlands particularly affected.
Now the European Space Agency have given around £182,500 to help a group including NHS Highland and the University of the Highlands and Islands lead research into the disease.
In December 2013 Highland gamekeeper Scott Beattie, 43, died after contracting the disease while working as head stalker at the Wyvis Estate.
Renowned Lyme Disease Researcher Dr. John N. Aucott to Be Honored at “Time for Lyme” Annual Gala
Greenwich, Connecticut (PRWEB) February 25, 2015
His clinical expertise and dedicated efforts toward unraveling the natural history of Lyme disease are worthy of the Hope Award’s prestigious recognition.
John N. Aucott, M.D., founder and president of Lyme Disease Research Foundation, and a renowned expert in clinical research on the diagnosis and epidemiology of Lyme disease, will receive the Lauren F. Brooks Hope Award at Lyme Research Alliance (LRA) and Tick-Borne Disease Alliance’s (TBDA) “Time for Lyme” Gala April 11, 2015. The award honors those who are making significant strides in research and treatment in pursuit of a Lyme disease cure.
Dr. Aucott’s study aims to understand why some patients suffer PTLDS lasting for weeks, months or years while others do not. “These patients are lost,” he says. “No one knows how to deal with them. It’s a challenge, but first thing we need to do is recognize this is a problem. There’s not a magic pill. These people already got the magic pill and it didn’t work.”
More info at: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/02/prweb12541472.htm
New Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center launched
Published on May 14, 2015 at 8:15 AM
Increasingly common illness has high toll: 300,000 stricken, $1.3 billion in treatment costs per year
Fundamental research into the causes and cures of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome now has its first home base at a major U.S. medical research center with the launch of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center. Inaugurated on May 12, 2015, with a major gift from the Lyme Disease Research Foundation, the center plans an ambitious research program targeting this increasingly common disease, which costs the U.S. economy up to $1.3 billion per year in treatment costs alone.
As director of the new clinical research center, housed at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Aucott has received an initial grant to lead the first prospective controlled study in the U.S. to examine the impact of Lyme disease on patients’ immune systems and their long-term health. Known as SLICE (Study of Lyme Disease Immunology and Clinical Events), the study aims to understand why some patients develop post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome lasting months or years, while others do not.
Researchers honored for Lyme disease biomarker breakthrough
June 14, 2015
Pollock and Branda, both of Harvard Medical School, recently identified a Borrelia burgdorferi biomarker in the urine of Lyme patients, according to the release. Their method used techniques previously developed to identify biomarkers for tuberculosis and leishmaniasis, and may provide an advantage over currently used Lyme diagnostics.
“Without an accurate and reliable diagnostic, patients suffer with unexplained symptoms and miss the opportunity for early treatment,” Bonnie Crater, co-founder and vice president of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, said in the release. “We are hopeful that the approach of Drs. Pollock and Branda, which taps learning from other diseases, will lead to a more direct way to detect the bacteria that causes Lyme disease than the current methods.”
The nonprofit organization’s 2015 Emerging Leader Award comes with a $100,000 grant, which will fund further research adapting this finding into a novel urine test to detect the infection.
“Our hope is that findings from this round of research will bring us closer to developing an accurate diagnostic test,” Branda said in the release. http://www.healio.com/infectious-disease/zoonotic-infections/news/online/%7B95c1e393-73d5-456d-9ef9-a90ee737e6d6%7D/researchers-honored-for-lyme-disease-biomarker-breakthrough
*Updated Feb 2015
Can Claritin help cure Lyme disease? – Feb 2015
New research suggests that a common allergy medication may be effective in starving and killing the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
“Because current treatments do not work for everyone and the bacteria that causes Lyme disease offers many treatment challenges, this study offers encouraging insights for researchers, and hope for the 80 million Americans at risk of getting Lyme disease,” Bonnie Crater, founder and Science Committee Chairperson, Bay Area Lyme Foundation, the leading private funder of innovative Lyme disease research in the US. “We are grateful to the BioADD team for their commitment to finding solutions to this difficult disease.”
For those techinically minded the full scientific paper is available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2651281/
Breakthrough test evaluates drugs for Lyme treatment – Nov 2014
Supported in part by a research grant from LymeDisease.org, scientists at Johns Hopkins have developed a test to help determine which drugs are most effective against Lyme disease.
For full paper head down to: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111809
Lyme Research Alliance Awards Nearly $600,000 in New Grants
Stamford, CT (PRWEB) September 30, 2014
Lyme Research Alliance (LRA), the nation’s largest private non-profit funder of Lyme disease research at universities, today announced the awarding of seven grants worth $587,000 to researchers focused on the identification, treatment and cure for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. LRA noted it had received the most applications in its history—over 20 grant proposals—a 100 percent increase from last year.
“While we were pleased to receive so many solid applications from talented scientists this year, it underscores the fact that only 17 percent of grant applications receive funding from the government these days,” said Harriet Kotsoris, M.D., LRA’s Chief Scientific Officer. “Scientific research is severely underfunded by the government and scientists must go to private donors.”
The resulting LRA 2014-2015 grant portfolio is “outstanding,” she said. “These scientists are at the top of their game. This speaks to the importance of LRA in the Lyme disease research community and the critical role played by private funding.”
For more inc a list of grant recipients go to: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/10/prweb12209113.htm
For New Research Directions, Look To the Kids
Stamford, CT (PRWEB) August 13, 2014
The next discovery that could change the world of Lyme disease could come from the inquiring mind of a high school or undergraduate college student. Already, students in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, New York and elsewhere have managed to make valuable contributions to Lyme research and are being saluted by Lyme Research Alliance for taking part in the effort to put an end to the disease.
‘The fact that students are taking part in the effort to put an end to this terrible disease reinforces our belief that we will win the war against long-term Lyme.’
The Magnotta foundation in Canada focusses on research
One primary focus of the Foundation is the establishment and operation of Canada’s first research facility to study Lyme Disease and eventually other vector-borne illnesses. It will also educate medical professionals and the public through workshops and seminars. Vector-borne diseases are transmitted to humans through the bite of infected vectors such as mosquitoes and especially ticks which are predicted to increase significantly in population in Canada by 2020.
Lyme Disease in Canada
Lyme Disease is a common vector-borne disease now found in all Canadian provinces and is expected to grow with the increased speed of tick invasion. One of the top 10 misdiagnosed diseases in the world, this multi-system infection 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.
Partnering with HRH
Scheduled for completion in late 2015, the new state-of-the-art Humber River Hospital in Toronto – the first fully digital acute care hospital in North America – has partnered with the Foundation to house our world-class research facility for vector-borne illnesses. It will lead to better diagnostics and treatment for Canadians, many of whom have had to leave the country to get the accurate testing and proper care they need which Canada currently lacks.
*Updated Jun 2014
3Qs: A new path to curing chronic Lyme disease
by Angela Herring – Medical Xpress, April 2014
Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projected the number of undiagnosed cases of Lyme disease to be 10-fold higher than previously believed. Of the newly identified 300,000 people infected each year, between 30,000 and 60,000 fall into the category of having chronic Lyme, where symptoms persist despite zero evidence that the pathogen remains in their bodies.
With the support of a Lyme Research Alliance grant, University Distinguished Professor of Biology Kim Lewis in the College of Science is exploring alternative approaches to curing chronic Lyme disease. We asked him to explain his research goals and why now is the perfect time to find a cure..
Trailblazing Lyme Disease Researchers to Be Honored at Lyme Research Alliance Gala
Kim Lewis, Ph.D. and Ying Zhang, M.D., Ph.D. to receive awards for their ongoing work researching “persister” organisms and recurrent disease at LRA’s “Time for Lyme” Gala on April 5, 2014 in Old Greenwich, CT. Proceeds from the event will be used to fund important research at universities and major medical institutions throughout the U.S.
“Recurrent infections are not just a problem in late stage Lyme disease, but a major dilemma for surgeons and patients dealing with artificial heart valves, prosthetic joints, and diseases such as tuberculosis and cystic fibrosis.”
For more on Lewis & Zhang’s research projects: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/03/prweb11661762.htm
Research May Help Doctors Predict Who Gets Long-Term Complications From Lyme Disease
April 17, 2014 – Findings may advance efforts to better manage the infection
A team of scientists led by Johns Hopkins and Stanford University researchers has laid the groundwork for understanding how variations in immune responses to Lyme disease can contribute to the many different outcomes of this bacterial infection seen in individual patients. A report on the work appears online April 16 in PLOS One.
“Physicians have recognized for many years that Lyme disease is not a uniform disease process and can vary in outcomes,” says Mark Soloski, Ph.D., a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and senior author of the report. “Our experiments have linked such differences to specific immune pathways controlled by elements of the immune system, which in turn might help us understand both the good immune processes that clear up the infection and the bad ones that cause injury and prolong symptoms. This could be a big step forward in managing this disease.
Why One Man Volunteered To Have 8 Blood-Sucking Ticks Attached To His Knee
Not concerned about Lyme disease? You might want to rethink that if you ever go outside.By Katherine Harmon Courage
Lyme Neuroborreliosis Research
The Lyme Neuroborreliosis Program is unique in that it is dedicated specifically and solely to Lyme neuroborreliosis.
There are many programs which offer either clinical expertise or medical research in Lyme disease, but few others combine both of these functions.
This Program will enable individuals with Lyme neuroborreliosis to participate in clinical trials that will increase our knowledge and ultimately benefit all members of the Lyme community.
Research will focus on Lyme neuroborreliosis especially of the brain, as we believe it is in this area that we have the greatest chance for making the biggest contribution. However participation in research studies is restricted to those patients who meet the official CDC diagnosis for Lyme disease.
*Updated Feb 2014
Lyme/MS Spinal Fluid Research by the Paul Duray Trust
Participating patients will mail in their Spinal fluid to the National Intake Center for their country. DNA analysis seeking evidence for borrelia infection in each submitted MS spinal fluid, will be conducted in select DNA reference laboratories.
It is hoped that MS patients will participate from the following Regions: Scandinavia, Continental Europe, United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Japan, China, Russia, Australia, and South Africa. Persons living in other countries might also participate.
DNA probes which are absolutely specific for Borrelia microbes, will be the tools utilized in this Free research. The potential benefits to individual MS patients are that for patients with positive results with DNA probes for borrelia in their spinal fluid, that they might become candidates for anti-infective therapies, with the hope of arresting or stabilizing their demyelinating (MS) disease.
*Updated Dec 2013
Canadian Charity donates $304,000 to further Lyme Disease research
KELOWNA, BC, Dec. 11, 2013 /CNW/ – The Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation, a registered charitable organization, is pleased to announce that it has made a donation of $304,000 to the G Magnotta Foundation for Vector Borne Diseases, Ontario, Canada.
The donation will be used primarily for a human tissue research program being developed in conjunction with the Humber River Hospital, Toronto, Canada. Research will entail studying tissue and fluid from various patient groups whose symptoms mirror Lyme Disease.
Approximately 2 million Canadians are diagnosed with conditions of unknown origin including multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome/ME, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease and other conditions that share symptoms with Lyme Disease. We know that a percentage of these are in fact Lyme Disease, or triggered by Lyme Disease. This research program will aide in understanding what that percentage is.
Many Canadians have been diagnosed with one of these diseases of unknown origins only to find out later that their illness was Lyme Disease all along. Treatment for Lyme Disease followed, and their quality of life improved greatly, allowing many to get out of wheelchairs, get out of bed, return to work, return to school, and enjoy life again.
As reported by Health Canada in October 2012, current tests used in Canada to test for Lyme Disease are incapable of detecting many of the bacterial strains that causes Lyme Disease. In order to understand the prevalence of the bacterium in the human population, researchers will employ various technologies, including advanced DNA sequencing techniques, microscopy, and serology.
In August 2013, in a press release by the United States Center for Disease Control, it was indicated that they have been inadvertently under-reporting Lyme Disease for decades; instead of the approximately 30,000 cases reported annually, the real incidence is estimated to be closer to 300,000 cases annually. Most cases are within a few hundred miles of the Canadian border, suggesting that Canada likewise has a serious, under-recognized problem and the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation has been emphasizing this for a decade.
This new research program will help give Canadians a better understanding of the impact tick-borne disease is having on the health care system.
The Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation has also now released its venture grant policy for students and researchers. Grants of up to ten thousand dollars are offered to qualified applicants.
Plus US Charity supports Eva Sapi in her work
Dr. Eva Sapi, an associate professor of cellular and molecular biology at the University of New Haven, and Phyllis Mervine, founder and president of LymeDisease.org, talk about some new research about the disease and what we can learn from Sapi’s work.
Fox News: http://video.foxct.com/New-Lyme-Disease-Research-At-University-Of-New-Haven-25434110
*Updated Nov 2013
University receives $150,000 to find Lyme disease treatment
November 7, 2013 11:23 pm by Ed Stannard |
WEST HAVEN — The University of New Haven has received a $150,000 grant from Lymedisease.org for research into the tick-borne illness, according to a press release.
About $100,000 has been used to buy an atomic force microscope, which Eva Sapi, associate professor of biology and environmental science, will use to study bacterial structure, the release said. It was built to her specifications.
Sapi, who once contracted Lyme disease, focuses her research on the antibiotic sensitivity of Lyme disease bacteria.
According to UNH, Sapi has shown that the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease, can form a “biofilm that allows it to hide and resist antibiotic treatments and other unfavorable environmental conditions such (as) nutrition deprivation, high ambient pH or adverse temperature.”
About $50,000 of the grant will be used to further Sapi’s research into biofilm formation and finding therapies for Lyme disease, UNH said.
“This microscope will allow Dr. Sapi and our students to further this important research,” said Lourdes Alvarez, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, in the release. “Contributions like this help enormously to fund studies that eventually could lead to a cure.”
The atomic microscope will be used by about 15 undergraduate and graduate researchers in Sapi’s program and by other UNH scientists and students studying cancer.
“There is so much work to be done on Borrelia, which has caused disease in all 50 states,” said Sapi. “Having access to this microscope will improve efficiency and further our investigation into how Lyme disease evades antibiotics. …
“We want to better understand Borrelia biofilm development so we can develop strategies to eliminate it,” Sapi said. “We also would like to know where this biofilm forms in the body.”
LymeDisease.org, founded in 1989, supports research, advocacy and education into Lyme disease.
Have questions, feedback or ideas about our news coverage? Connect directly with the editors of the New Haven Register at AskTheRegister.com. ___
(c)2013 the New Haven Register (New Haven, Conn.)
Visit the New Haven Register (New Haven, Conn.) at www.nhregister.com
Read more: http://medcitynews.com/2013/11/university-receives-150000-find-lyme-disease-treatment/#ixzz2kSJ2OneZ
TOUCHED BY LYME: Where money for Lyme research goes
22 August, 2010
When we started publicizing that the 2010 CALDA Lymewalks are raising money for research, many people asked us what kind of research we are funding. It’s a fair question. Here’s a run-down on current research projects funded by CALDA.
CALDA has a committee made up of researchers, doctors and patients, who evaluate applications for research grants with an eye for projects that are patient-oriented. Our goal is to fund research that will do the most to help patients. (Typically, CALDA doesn’t fund the entire project. Researchers usually get support from a variety of sources.)
Here are current projects being funded in part by CALDA.
* Stanford University. Clinical manifestations of Lyme disease.
How is chronic Lyme defined? The diagnosis of Lyme disease is complicated because of the diversity of its clinical manifestations, with symptoms reflecting involvement of the brain, nerves, joints, muscles or heart. This research project focuses on the diverse manifestations of Lyme disease that are underrepresented in treatment research. The primary goal of this research is to establish a preliminary case control definition of chronic Lyme disease that recognizes the diversity of symptom patterns and the limitations of standard diagnostic tests. Knowledge gleaned from this study should help doctors do a better job of diagnosing and treating Lyme, and pave the way for more extensive research of chronic Lyme.
* University of California, Davis, vet school. Mechanisms of Bartonella transmission between ticks and dogs.
Bartonella transmission is not well understood. This study seeks to gain insight into the role of ticks in the transmission of Bartonella (a co-infection plaguing many Lyme patients.)
* Stony Brook University, New York. Profiling the Humoral Response to Bb Infection with Protein Microarrays. Looking for more effective antibiotic treatments for Lyme disease.
* University of New Haven, CT
Antibiotic susceptibility of the spirochete and other morphologies of Borrelia burgdorferi. Looking for treatments to eliminate all forms of Bb (spirochete, L-form, and cyst).
This project is being carried out by Dr. Eva Sapi, who is doing important work about a variety of aspects of Lyme disease. You can see a 10-minute interview with her about her work on YouTube.
* Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Molecular Basis of Borrelia burgdorferi L-form Formation.
Perfecting a technique for culturing L-forms of Bb in the laboratory, which could lead to more effective treatments.
These five projects are important steps, but there is still much work to be done. Won’t you help us raise money for more research by participating in the 2010 CALDA Lymewalks? If you are unable to attend in person, you can still create your own fundraising page or donate via somebody’s else’s page. Click here for more information.
Turn the Corner: 2009 Grant Recipients
These innovative research projects will have a monumental impact in regard to the treatment and diagnosis of Lyme disease. Your donation helps scientists and doctors study various approaches that can one day “turn the corner” on Lyme disease.
* M. Karen Newell, Ph.D. Colorado Springs, CO
One ground-breaking research project that TTC is funding in 2009 is headed by M. Karen Newell, Ph.D. at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Her research has implications for improving quality of life for Lyme patients in the future. This study examines the genetics of chronic inflammation, which is a characteristic of every stage of Lyme disease. Using targeted peptides aimed at those that have the particular “immune response” genes associated with disease, Dr. Newell will attempt to reduce the inflammation caused by the Borrelia bacteria.
* Eva Sapi, Ph.D. West Haven, CT
Dr. Sapi, entering the second year of her two-year grants, has been studying the role of biofilms and nematodes in Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterial agent of Lyme disease. Dr. Sapi has confirmed that the Borrelia bacteria is capable of hiding within a complex covering called biofilm, which increases its resistance to antibiotic treatment. The next step is to test which agents will ensure that Borrelia cannot hide in biofilm during and after antibiotic therapy. Dr. Sapi strongly believes this research will be vital to treating patients with chronic Lyme disease.
A second study focuses on filarial nematodes, a microscopic worm found in deer ticks, the type that are known to spread Lyme disease. The researchers have identified that at least 40% of the tested deer ticks had this pathogen. The goal of this study is to provide a new means to test Lyme patients for a novel infection and to develop different therapeutic protocols, especially for those patients who are not responding to antibiotics.
* Lyme Literacy Programs for Patients, Washington, DC
TTC sponsored several projects to increase awareness of Lyme, including a legislative forum in the nation’s capital, led by the National Capital Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Association. The forum helped build unity in the Lyme community and to educate many people about the legislative process and what they could do in order for chronic Lyme to be recognized by the United States Congress.
Turn the Corner: 2009 Initiatives
Your support has helped fund many much-needed initiatives in the world of Lyme disease. Turn the Corner Foundation (TTC) is so pleased to convert your donations into programs that make a difference in people’s lives.
* Under Our Skin
As many of you are aware, Turn the Corner (TTC) is the official Outreach Partner for the documentary Under Our Skin. The film investigates the shocking human, medical, and political dimensions of Lyme disease. We are extremley excited and proud to announce its theatrical release!
The film opened in New York City on June 19th at the IFC Center and will continue to be shown across the country in the coming months. Please join TTC in celebrating the film’s achievement and support the movie by spreading the word to family and friends and coming to the NYC showing.
This prestigious film has already earned many awards, including Best in Infectious Diseases at the International Health and Medical Media Awards, and has been selected as a finalist for the Audience Choice Award at the Tribeca Film Festival (2008). The film’s theatrical release is a huge accomplishment and testament to the importance of the film, Lyme disease, and everything we fight for.
Turn the Corner thanks you for your continuing support of Lyme disease awareness and the film Under Our Skin.
* Lyme and Associated Diseases Registry™
Dr. Burrascano, a member of TTC’s Medical Advisory Board, has been compiling data on diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. Results from this critical research will be a key element for all treating physicians and this information will be published and disseminated worldwide. We are pleased to announce that the top-performing doctors in this program are Dr. Chandra Swami, Dr. Steven Harris, Dr. Cheryl Ortel, Dr. Ann Corson, and Dr. Daniel Cameron. Encourage your physician to participate in the database program today and help standardize treatment techniques for Lyme patients.
* Streamlines doctor/patient visits.
* Tabulates and analyzes hidden information in patient charts.
* Addresses clinical issues that doctors and patients face.
* Resolves dilemma of the “unknowns” in TBD care.
* Spearheads the standardization of TBD diagnosis and treatment
* Results in publishable data.
* Participation is easy, and simple to implement in office.
You have the power to make a critical difference in the Lyme community. Seize this opportunity to revolutionize the future of TBD treatment!
If you are a doctor or medical assistant and would like to participate in the program, please contact Colleen Nicholson at Jcn4jc@aol.com or 516.286.7196.
* Physicians Training Program
This groundbreaking program provides medical practitioners the opportunity to study with a Lyme-literate health care professional to recognize and treat Lyme disease successfully. In about two weeks, trainees become Lyme-literate through watching mentoring doctors in action with patients, reviewing different cases, and learning their individual approaches to diagnosis and treatment. These professionals bring this skill set back to their community in order to better care for their patients.Over 100 doctors have already been trained through this program, helping thousands of people with Lyme disease.
Click here for more information about the Physicians Training Program [open to European physicians also]
Click here to read quotes from doctors who participated in the program.
Click here to make a donation that helps doctors from all over the world become Lyme-literate. http://ilads.org/ilads_media/donate-iladef/
* Create Footprints
This national program allows volunteers across the country to plan a walk to raise funds for Lyme disease research and initiatives through Turn the Corner Foundation. You can become an organizer of an event and raise money in your own neighborhood. Create Footprints gives you everything you need, including forms and step-by-step instructions, to execute a successful fundraising walk no matter where you live.
To access list of 2010 Lyme & tick-borne diseases research grants go to:
NB: This site also has links to chronic Lyme, Paediatric Lyme, Sam Donta, Dr Jones, misdiagnoses, sexual transmission, tick studies, Lyme controversies etc. etc – some very interesting stuff..
2010 Grants and Initiatives
International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS)
Turn the Corner made a grant to ILADS for the world renown Physicians Training Program (PTP). Founded and exclusively funded by TTC, the PTP continues to foster excellence in care for Lyme disease and tick-borne disease patients by providing medical practitioners the opportunity to study with Lyme-literate healthcare professionals. In 2010 TTC proudly trained our 100th program graduate. Thousands of patients have been properly diagnosed and properly treated thanks to our groundbreaking signature program. Read More About the Physicians Training Program. http://www.ilads.org/education/physician-training.php
Turn the Corner made a grant to ILADS for the 2010 ILADS Conference in London, England. The first European conference was held in June and attracted over 65 attendees. TTC received praise from ILADS. “We are so very grateful for the support TTC has given us. The meeting was a tremendous success!”
ILADS 2012 London Conference attendees included: Carsten Nicolaus, MD; Chrisitan Perrone, MD; Sarrah Chisell, MD (organizer and graduate of ILADS/TTC Physician Training Program); Ann Corson, MD (graduate of ILDS/TTC Physician Training Program); Leo Shea III, Ph.D (TTC Medical Advisory Board Member)
Turn the Corner made a grant to ILADS for a new unique and innovative program – the Specialty Education program (SEP). SEP will underwrite the expenses associated with sending a Lyme-literate ILADS representative to attend medical specialty conferences to present or disseminate information regarding Lyme disease and tick-borne diseases. It is TTC’s belief that specialty physicians should have a greater awareness of the clinical diagnosis of Lyme and tick borne diseases.
Turn the Corner made a grant to Cheryl Koopman. Ph.D. at Stamford Univeristy to continue the “Multi-Method Examination of Diverse Manifestations of Lyme Disease”
Dr. Koopman and her Stanford University team seek to identify diverse manifestations of Lyme disease to help explain the complexity of this illness. They intend to use clinical and laboratory findings of Lyme disease patients to show how conclusions from prior studies may not adequately generalize to the typical Lyme disease patient population.
There are two main goals: 1) To identify patterns of symptoms that describe different groups of Lyme disease patients as seen in clinical practice; and 2) to establish a case-controlled definition of chronic Lyme disease.
For the first phase of the project, they obtained data from a large private practice in California that specializes in treating tick-borne illnesses. Over 1,000 medical records were reviewed and data recorded include: demographics, recollection of tick bite and bulls-eye rash, length of time since onset of symptoms to initial visit, co-morbid infections and illnesses, test results, and prior/current medication use. The team is excited about the results of this first phase of the research, which will be revealed as soon as they publish the results.
In the second phase of the study now, Dr. Koopman and her team are recruiting persons diagnosed with Lyme disease by California Bay Area physicians and matching them to a group of healthy controls to compare their test assays, symptoms, and quality of life indices. The sensitivity and specificity of IGeneX Western Blots, Mardex Western Blots, PCR and ELISA will be compared to each other for their ability to detect chronic Lyme disease. They will examine how these tests and indices are related to the symptom clusters found in the first phase of the study. This will help to establish a preliminary set of case-controlled criteria to characterize persons with chronic Lyme disease on alternative test assays and to further understand the diverse manifestations of this illness.
This research study is being conducted at Stanford University. The research team consists of the following: Cheryl Koopman, PhD, Principal Investigator; Tyson Holmes, PhD, Biostatistician; Yvonne Lin, PA-C, Project Director; Lila Castillo, MA, Project Coordinator; and Alexandra Aylward, Jill Whisnant, and Casey Brodhead, Research Coordinators. The expert panel is comprised of Daniel Cameron, MD; Christine Green, MD; and Raphael Stricker, MD. This project’s Scientific and Community Advisory Board includes physicians, researchers, and advocates.
Turn the Corner made a grant to Steven Phillips, M.D. to study an innovative treatment for Lyme and tick-borne diseases – rife technology. This study will be examining the effects on human cells of exposure to the types of radiofrequencies used in a particular rife machine. Extensive research has already been conducted on the effects on human cells by exposure to the frequencies used for cell phones, but this type of research has not been done for the radiofrequencies used for rife machines. This study will examine lymphocytes from patients with chronic Lyme disease who have not used a rife machine, patients with chronic Lyme disease who have been using a rife machine, and healthy controls. The lymphocytes will be examined for DNA damage by both the COMET assay and micronucleus test.
In this way, it may be possible to quantitate and compare the risk, or lack thereof, of rife machine radiofrequency exposure.
Turn the Corner made a grant to BLAST ! Lyme Disease Prevention Program.
BLAST is a health education initiative focused on the 5 most important science-based behaviors for keeping individuals safe from tick-borne diseases. The program focus is on prevention and education. BLAST has received accolades from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Connecticut Public Health Association, Fairfield County health departments and hospitals, universities and local school systems. The program has been recognized as a model Community Health education Program that is simple and affordable for the public to replicate. BLAST is based in Ridgefiled,CT and can be contacted at email@example.com. Their website is http://www.ridgefieldct.org and information is available here at: http://www.ridgefieldct.org/content/46/6311/6347/8905.aspx
Turn the Corner continues to support the research of Dr. Eva Sapi, University of New Haven.
Dr. Sapi, has been studying the role of biofilms and nematodes in Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterial agent of Lyme disease. Dr. Sapi has confirmed that the Borrelia bacteria is capable of hiding within a complex covering called biofilm, which increases its resistance to antibiotic treatment. The next step is to test whichagents will ensure that Borrelia cannot hide in biofilm during and after antibiotic therapy. Dr. Sapi strongly believes this research will be vital to treating patients with chronic Lyme disease. Read a recent article about Dr. Sapi’s research at www.townsendletter.com/July2010/sapi0710.html
Turn the Corner is pleased to offer a video tape of the 2010 Lyme Disease Symposium “The Challenges of Lyme Disease: Emerging Research and Pediatric Care” hosted by Dr. Sapi at the University of New Haven.
Turn the Corner made a grant to Dr. Joseph Burrascano for his continuing work to create a Lyme and Associated Diseases Registry database.
Turn the Corner volunteers proudly answers inquiries from Lyme patients throughout the world and provide free information about Lyme-Literate medical professionals. Thousands of patients have been helped with the information provided by Turn the Corner’s wonderful and caring volunteers. Inquiries can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org
2011 Grants and Initiatives
Turn the Corner awards a grant to the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) for the world renown Physicians Training Program (PTP). Founded and exclusively funded by TTC, the PTP continues to foster excellence in care for Lyme disease and tick-borne disease patients by providing medical practitioners the opportunity to study with Lyme-literate healthcare professionals. Over 100 medical practioners have been trained and thousands of patients have been properly diagnosed and properly treated thanks to our groundbreaking signature program. Read More About the Physicians Training Program. http://www.ilads.org/education/physician-training.php
Turn the Corner awards a grant to Eva Sapi, Ph.D., University of New Haven. Since 2008, Turn the Corner has supported the research of Dr. Sapi. Dr. Sapi and her students at the University of New Haven have been studying the role of biofilms and nematodes in Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterial agent of Lyme disease. Dr. Sapi has confirmed that the Borrelia bacteria is capable of hiding within a complex covering called biofilm, which increases its resistance to antibiotic treatment. Currently she is testing which agents will ensure that Borrelia cannot hide in biofilm during and after therapy. Dr. Sapi strongly believes this research will be vital to treating patients with chronic Lyme disease. Read a recent article about Dr. Sapi’s research at www.townsendletter.com/July2010/sapi0710.html Turn the Corner is pleased to offer a video tape of the 2010 Lyme Disease Symposium “The Challenges of Lyme Disease: Emerging Research and Pediatric Care” hosted by Dr. Sapi at the University of New Haven.
Turn the Corner awards a grant to M. Karen Newell, Ph.D., Texas A & M University Since 2009, Turn the Corner has supported Dr. Newell’s ground-breaking research project that has implications for improving quality of life for Lyme patients in the future. This study examines the genetics of chronic inflammation, which is a characteristic of every stage of Lyme disease. Using targeted peptides aimed at those that have the particular “immune response” genes associated with disease, Dr. Newell will attempt to reduce the inflammation caused by the Borrelia bacteria.
Through cytometric and computational analyses and tissue typing of peripheral blood from patients with Lyme disease, Dr. Newell has successfully determined that B and activated T lymphocytes, compared with peripheral blood white cells from uninfected individuals, exhibit the characteristics of polyclonal B and T cell activation and have MHC class I or II molecules filled with self-antigens. This reaffirms the prediction of a statistically significant association between the binding affinity of the peptide CLIP to the MHC class II, but not MHC class I. Further research requires parallel analysis of lymph node cells from at least 15 chronic Lyme patients in order to demonstrate statistical significance.
3 interesting projects:
Project Number: 5R01AI073911-04
Contact Principal Investigator: BARTHOLD, STEPHEN WILLIAM
Title: HUMORAL RESPONSES TO LYME BORRELIOSIS: A MOUSE MODEL Awardee Organization: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA DAVIS
This disease is caused by B. burgdorferi (Bb) and is the most commonly reported arthropod-borne illness in the US and Europe with the number of reported infections raising each year. The spirochetes cause persistent infections and chronic disease with bouts of arthritis and carditis in untreated patients. Our long-term objective is to delineate the mechanisms with which Bb evades effective immunity during persistent infection of fully immunocompetent hosts.
PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Lyme Disease is a chronic disabling disease resulting from a tick-bite. The tick transfers a bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, to the patient, which can persist in various organs, including the joints and heart, where it can cause disabling disease such as chronic arthritis and heart muscle disease. The body develops an immune response that can initially fend off disease but cannot clear the infection. Thus, if infections are not treated continuing disease is common. This proposal aims to determine why the immune response that is sufficient to help to reduce disease ultimately fails to clear the infection. Such information is necessary to develop vaccines and treatments for this increasingly prevalent disease.
Project Number: 5R01AI085798-02
Contact Principal Investigator: BOCKENSTEDT, LINDA K
Title: REAL-TIME IMAGING ANALYSIS OF VECTOR-BORNE LYME BORRELIOSIS PATHOGENESIS & PERSIS Awardee Organization: YALE UNIVERSITY
Although usually amenable to antibiotic therapy, Bb infection can be followed by prolonged clinical symptoms, especially if treatment is delayed. Recent studies in mice reveal that under some circumstances, spirochetes can persist in connective tissue for extended periods after antibiotic treatment. Central to resolving the clinical issue of spirochete persistence after antibiotic therapy is an understanding of how Bb evades the normal host defenses that should complement antibiotic effects.
PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Lyme disease, due to infection with the tick-transmitted spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), is the most common vector-borne disease in North America. The mechanisms whereby Bb infects, disseminates and persists in mammals are poorly understood. This application will use state-of-the-art imaging approaches, including multiphoton microscopy, to study features of the outer membrane of Bb and Bb motility patterns that may allow it to escape immune and antibiotic-mediated destruction in vivo.
Project Number: 1R41AI092978-01
Contact Principal Investigator: BOCKENSTEDT, LINDA K
Title: T CELL CYTOKINE ASSAY FOR THE DIAGNOSIS OF DISSEMINATED LYME BORRELIOSIS Awardee Organization: L2 DIAGNOSTICS, LLC
Serologic tests (ELISA and immunoblot) that detect B. burgdorferi-reactive antibodies are the most widely used tests, but have lower sensitivity and specificity in early infection and can be indeterminate in later stages, particularly if antibiotics have been administered. In addition, current Lyme serologic tests do not distinguish previous exposure to B. burgdorferi from active infection, and no serologic test to date can be used to assess response to therapy. This Phase 1 proposal seeks to improve upon the currently available Lyme diagnostic tests
PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Lyme disease, due to infection with the tick-borne spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. Timely diagnosis of infection is important for optimal response to therapy and to prevent long-term sequelae. This project will assess the utility of a T cell cytokine assay for the detection of disseminated B. burgdorferi infection and for monitoring efficacy of treatment.
Evaluation of in-vitro antibiotic susceptibility of different morphological forms of Borrelia burgdorferi
Sapi E, Kaur N, Anyanwu S, Luecke DF, Datar A, Patel S, Rossi M, Stricker RB
Published Date May 2011 , Volume 2011:4 Pages 97 – 113 DOI 10.2147/IDR.S19201
Background: Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. Although antibiotic therapy is usually effective early in the disease, relapse may occur when administration of antibiotics is discontinued. Studies have suggested that resistance and recurrence of Lyme disease might be due to formation of different morphological forms of B. burgdorferi, namely round bodies (cysts) and biofilm-like colonies. Better understanding of the effect of antibiotics on all morphological forms of B. burgdorferi is therefore crucial to provide effective therapy for Lyme disease.
Methods: Three morphological forms of B. burgdorferi (spirochetes, round bodies, and biofilm-like colonies) were generated using novel culture methods. Minimum inhibitory concentration and minimum bactericidal concentration of five antimicrobial agents (doxycycline, amoxicillin, tigecycline, metronidazole, and tinidazole) against spirochetal forms of B. burgdorferi were evaluated using the standard published microdilution technique. The susceptibility of spirochetal and round body forms to the antibiotics was then tested using fluorescent microscopy (BacLight™ viability staining) and dark field microscopy (direct cell counting), and these results were compared with the microdilution technique. Qualitative and quantitative effects of the antibiotics against biofilm-like colonies were assessed using fluorescent microscopy and dark field microscopy, respectively.
Results: Doxycycline reduced spirochetal structures ~90% but increased the number of round body forms about twofold. Amoxicillin reduced spirochetal forms by ~85%–90% and round body forms by ~68%, while treatment with metronidazole led to reduction of spirochetal structures by ~90% and round body forms by ~80%. Tigecycline and tinidazole treatment reduced both spirochetal and round body forms by ~80%–90%. When quantitative effects on biofilm-like colonies were evaluated, the five antibiotics reduced formation of these colonies by only 30%–55%. In terms of qualitative effects, only tinidazole reduced viable organisms by ~90%. Following treatment with the other antibiotics, viable organisms were detected in 70%–85% of the biofilm-like colonies.
Conclusion: Antibiotics have varying effects on the different morphological forms of B. burgdorferi. Persistence of viable organisms in round body forms and biofilm-like colonies may explain treatment failure and persistent symptoms following antibiotic therapy of Lyme disease.
Full paper available at:
Project Number: 5R01AI026815-23
Contact Principal Investigator: BARTHOLD, STEPHEN WILLIAM
Title: MOUSE MODEL OF LYME BORRELIOSIS
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The overall objective of this project is to understand the pathogenesis of Lyme borreliosis, using a mouse model. This project will focus on mechanisms of antibody-mediated disease remission and mechanisms by which spirochetes evade immune clearance. Immune serum from persistently infected mice contains three measurable functional effects: protective, disease-resolving, and spirochete-reducing effects. …The functional state of spirochetes during persistent infection will be explored in order to determine the specific antigen-antibody interactions involved in maintaining disease quiescence and sequestration of spirochetes in collagen, and to determine if the persistent state is either static or dynamic, using parabiotic mice infected with co-isogenic strains of spirochetes. These studies are highly relevant to understanding how B. burgdorferi persists in the immunologically responsive host, and how the host maintains the host-parasite equilibrium. Lyme borreliosis is the most common vector-borne disease in the U.S., with significant morbidity, and its prevalence and geographic distribution are rising. These studies are needed to develop better strategies for effective management of patients with persistent infections.
Relevance: Pathogen persistence and evasion of host immunity are highly relevant issues for all chronic infectious diseases, but Lyme borreliosis in particular. The proposed studies will incisively investigate the mechanisms of Borrelia burgdorferi persistence, which will help lead to more effective treatment.
Time for Lyme Charity – Active projects 2011
True to our mission statement, Time for Lyme promotes promising, innovative, cutting-edge research for the eradication of tick-borne illnesses. We are proud to showcase current research projects that we are funding wholly or in part:
It Starts with Prevention
Time for Lyme awarded a grant to Dr. Robert E. Thach, Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis for his work on vertebrate reservoirs for tick-borne diseases in the central United States. According to Dr. Thach, “Future development and implementation of strategies to control tick-borne diseases depend on understanding how these disease-producing organisms that ticks transmit are maintained in the environment. Through novel analysis of nymphal tick gut blood, sources of the tick’s previous blood meals can be identified. In so doing, primary and secondary reservoirs can be determined. Discovering the carriers of the infected ticks will eventually help design methods to reduce human exposure to them and consequently, tick- borne diseases.” Dr. Thach has focused his work on the tick-borne disease Ehrlichiosis, a growing problem in the Midwest.
Better Diagnostic Tests
The Lyme and Tick-Borne Research Center at Columbia University has been particularly interested in identifying better diagnostic tests and better treatments for people with chronic persistent symptoms. Dr. Brian Fallon, director of the Center and Associate Professor at Columbia University, cites one of the Center projects, which involved evaluating the sensitivity and specificity of 6 new assays for Lyme disease. This community screening study took place in the spring/summer of 2009 and included those with typical and atypical cases of Lyme disease. The results of this study may help to enhance the likelihood that those with Lyme disease are detected and treated more quickly. For more information about the Center, see www.columbia-lyme.org.
Dr. Benjamin J. Luft, the Edmond Pellegrino Professor of Medicine at the State University of New York (SUNY), Stony Brook, is on a quest to find better antibiotic therapies for Lyme disease. We know that the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria can remain viable in animals even after treatment with penicillin, tetracycline and macrolide antibiotics. Dr. Luft and his colleagues have discovered that the microbes possess something known as efflux pumps in their cell membranes, which help eliminate antibiotics and other toxins from inside the cell and thus help bacteria survive. Research is underway to determine the mechanisms of resistance and whether two already approved antibiotics could block these efflux pumps and allow antibiotics to build up inside the bacteria, thus insuring their demise.
Chronicling Chronic Lyme Disease
Dr. John Aucott, Principal Investigator for the Lyme Disease Research Foundation of Maryland, is conducting a longitudinal study in collaboration with scientists at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The clinical research team will examine the course of infection by the Lyme organism and the resulting illness from the initial rash to the chronic persistent stage. His objectives are to measure risk factors, symptom pattern and severity, and immune system response over time in patients with chronic Lyme symptoms.
Treating Persistent Symptoms
Dr. Armin Alaedini, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, is conducting research to determine the relevance and role of the body’s immune system in chronic Lyme disease. To understand more fully how to help patients whose symptoms persist after antibiotic treatment, Dr. Alaedini is analyzing blood and spinal fluid for biomarkers that might correlate with various symptoms of the disease.
Diagnostic Biomarkers for Persisting Brain and Nervous System Symptoms in Lyme Disease
This study is led by Steven Schutzer, MD, a physician-scientist and Professor of Medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry-New Jersey Medical School. The study utilizes the most advanced mass spectrometry and protein separation techniques in the United States. Step 1 is to establish the comprehensive list of proteins in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF, the liquid window of the brain) of normal healthy people. Step 2 is to do the same in people with persisting brain and nervous system symptoms in Lyme disease. Step 1 has been completed. Step 2 (Lyme CSF proteome) will follow. Steps 1 and 2 are the Discovery Phase. We expect there will be a large number of potential biomarkers. This number can be narrowed down to the top ones in a Verification Phase using samples from separate individual patients. Once biomarkers are found, the same can be searched for in the blood, which would not be possible before CSF identification.
Understanding Chronic Lyme Disease Syndrome
Dr. Karen Newell, Associate Professor Department of Biology at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Scientific Director of the CU Institute of Bioenergetics, and newly affiliated with Texas A & M University, believes that the genetic blueprint of an individual determines certain immune characteristics that can contribute to the elimination of disease, or its progression into chronic and persistent infection. In healthy individuals, self-peptides and/or their presenting cells are usually removed. Those with a blueprint that does not allow these self-peptides to be removed, tend to mount an auto-reactive or chronic inflammatory immune response. Her theory proposes a “targeted” peptide to replace/remove the self peptides and restore a healthy immune response. Her research thereby delves into the mechanism by which unchecked immunologic responses to infection result in chronic disease or inflammation. The results of Dr. Newell’s research may hold the key to unlocking the mystery behind chronic Lyme disease.
Model for Chronic Lyme Disease
Dr. Ying Zhang, professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, has reliably reproduced the culture of Borrelia burgdorferi in its L form. The L forms are morphologically, and perhaps chemically, different from the spirochetal form. L forms are known to be responsible for persistent infections among other bacteria. Now successful, the culture technique will allow antibiotic sensitivity testing in vitro, leading to more effective antibiotic therapies, and surface protein analysis, facilitating the development of vaccines against another form of Borrelia infection.