New Studies Offer Hope for a Future Without Lyme Disease

John Hopkins Opens Research Center for Lyme Disease

In May of this year, John Hopkins opened an important research center that offers hope for those suffering from Chronic Lyme Disease.

This center will address the problem that so many Lyme Disease patients suffer from of lingering serious symptoms for months or even years after finishing the initial antibiotic treatment. They will seek to find both the cause and cure for these patients.

For so long, patients who suffer from symptoms after completing their antibiotic treatment have met with at the least skepticism from their doctors and at worst an outright rebuff while they continue to suffer. This research center offers hope for a future when Chronic Lyme Disease is a thing of the past.

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 earlier this month.

The center, supported by a major gift from the Lyme Disease Research Foundation, 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. “If you live anywhere from Maine to Virginia, it’s almost impossible for Lyme disease not to affect someone you know, someone in your family or yourself,” says center founder and director John Aucott, a Johns Hopkins internist.

“This syndrome is not fatal, but it is life-altering,” says Aucott. “People who come down with Lyme disease are active people who have the bad luck to be bitten by an infected tick while they’re out hiking, camping, or mowing the grass. It can happen to anyone anywhere there are trees, deer, and the ticks that they carry.”

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.- via The Hub

New Test Offers Hope of Medications to Prevent Chronic Lyme Disease

A new test allows researchers to test existing antibiotics and how effective they are at killing the persistent bugs left after the normal course of antibiotics for Lyme Disease is complete. The discussion below explains this discovery and its wide-reaching promise.

Once researchers find which antibiotics actually kill the bugs which are immune to the normal treatment for Lyme, patients who need it will be able to receive treatment that will rid their bodies of these harmful bacteria so they can fully recover.

Research is ongoing and treatment is not yet available, but hope is alive for the future.

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have developed a test they say will allow them to test thousands of FDA-approved drugs to see if they will work against the bacteria that causes tick-borne Lyme disease.

Study leader Ying Zhang, MD, PhD, a professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, and his colleagues tweaked a test typically used for simply counting DNA in samples in the lab.

Using the test, they were able to quantify how many Borrelia burgdorferi are alive and how many are dead after each drug was added to the bacteria. The method stains the living bacteria green and the dead or dying bacteria red in a way that filters out the noise that can corrupt existing tests.

The new drugs identified by Zhang’s assay appear to specifically target these persisters in the lab. The question remains as to whether they will do the same thing in humans. Some doctors are considering prescribing the drugs off-label for persistent Lyme disease symptoms, even without evidence showing it will work. Zhang cautions that animal studies should be done to see if they work before they are tested in Lyme disease patients, even though these are clinically used drugs for treating other infections, as inappropriate use of antibiotics can have side effects. – via ScienceDaily

Have you seen other studies concerning new treatments for Lyme Disease?