A new type of Lyme disease test aimed at early-stage infection detection is hitting doctors’ offices, and we all should thank Lyme patients for making this happen. This test named T-Detect Lyme™, was recently unveiled by Adaptive Biotechnologies, and is an advanced indirect-detection blood test that allows for detection of an acute Lyme infection earlier than antibody response tests.
Our Lyme Disease Biobank (LBD) and Dr. John Aucott’s SLICE Lab at Johns Hopkins University provided the Lyme patient blood samples for Adaptive’s new T-Detect Lyme™ test development. The LBD, a program of Bay Area Lyme, was created in 2014 and began collecting patient samples in 2015 specifically to drive this form of diagnostic innovation. By engaging Lyme patients and providing well-characterized samples to approved researchers and partnering with innovative organizations like Adaptive, the LDB research engine is now delivering long-planned-for results.
“This breakthrough from Adaptive validates the power of patient-driven research. Without the participation of patients who gave blood to our Lyme Disease Biobank, this impactful new test could not have been developed,” commented Linda Giampa, executive director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation. “We wish to thank all the patients who came forward to participate in this important program and to encourage others to give samples.”
Ross Douthat, New York Times columnist, political analyst and author, shares his findings on the state of Lyme research, public perception, and his personal experience with tick-borne infections. Previously he was a senior editor of The Atlantic. He is the film critic for National Review, and he co-founded the New York Times’s weekly op-ed podcast, The Argument. Ross’s most recent book is about his experience with Lyme disease and is called “The Deep Places: A Memoir of Illness and Discovery”.
Dr. Brandon Jutras is an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Virginia Tech whose recent diagnostic project on Borrelia’s peptidoglycans was selected for a Bay Area Lyme Foundation 2021 Emerging Leader Award. With over 25 peer reviewed publications in many of science’s top journals, Dr. Jutras is an expert in explaining existing and potential Lyme diagnostics.
How a chance meeting and the harnessing of big data led to a research initiative that’s finding answers in Lyme and tick-borne disease
Many different groups comprise the Lyme disease community including patients, their families, healthcare providers, researchers and nonprofit organizations. These nonprofit organizations and foundations may differ in size, structure, fiscal basis, focus and approach, but in one important aspect they are united: the search for answers.
This search for answers in the realm of Lyme and tick-borne diseases has served as a unifying driver, even when dissent and controversy has sometimes fragmented the Lyme community. And despite what seems to be a constant uphill battle for recognition and legitimacy of Lyme and tick-borne infections, many believe that we’re on the brink of major breakthroughs to help patients and doctors unlock the medical mysteries that make these infectious diseases so confounding. Two people cautiously optimistic about where we are in the search for answers about Lyme are Liz Horn, PhD, MBI, Principal Investigator, Lyme Disease Biobank, and Lorraine Johnson, JD, MBA, Chief Executive Officer, LymeDisease.org and Principal Investigator MyLymeData.
Dale Bredesen, MD is the author of the New York Times‘ bestseller, “The End of Alzheimer’s” as well as “The First Survivors of Alzheimer’s”. He has held faculty positions at UCSF, UCLA, and UCSD. Dr. Bredesen directed the Program on Aging at the Burnham Institute before joining the Buck Institute in 1998 as the founding President and CEO. Dr. Bredesen has published many scientific journal articles and holds over thirty patents. NOTE: there were technical difficulties with the video recording so the video does not switch between interviewer and interviewee. Ticktective Video and Podcast Editor: Kiva Schweig.
Steven Phillips, MD is a Yale-trained physician and co-author of the book, “Chronic: The Hidden Cause of the Autoimmune Pandemic”. He has treated over 20,000 patients from over 20 countries. Dr. Phillips is well-published in peer-reviewed medical literature such as the Lancet and has been featured in popular media such as the NY Times, the Huffington Post, Dr. Oz, Fox’s Lyme and Reason, CBS, Revolution Health Radio with Chris Kresser, Dr. Been, and The Doctors. Ticktective Video and Podcast Editor: Kiva Schweig.
Meghan O’ Rourke is the editor of the Yale Review as well as the author of articles in Scientific American, the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, Slate and many poetry publications. She is the author of several books including her newly released book,The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness. Meghan is the winner of many awards and prizes including the Guggenheim Award for General Nonfiction. Meghan has recently been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air, the Ezra Klein Show and Good Morning America. Ticktective Video and Podcast Editor: Kiva Schweig.
Promoting tick bite prevention and educating everyone about the serious health impacts of tick-borne diseases has been a consistent objective for Bay Area Lyme Foundation. After all, although the foundation’s mission is to make Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simply to cure, it would be so much better if nobody ever got bitten by an infected tick in the first place. But as ticks continue to proliferate and the number of people impacted by Lyme and tick-borne diseases grows, the need for tick bite prevention and education escalates accordingly. That’s why the foundation is excited about its three-year partnership with the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA), and an upcoming announcement with PGAJR, as they provide an unprecedented opportunity to reach thousands of young athletes and their families.
But why are golf courses high risk locations for tick bites? After all, the fairways are mown regularly, and golfers are typically walking around on grass that is short and frequently tended. Surely hiking, mountain biking and running in areas where trails are overgrown and you’re outside at times when infected ticks are most active would be higher risk?
Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac., is a renowned expert, leading clinician, and top educator in the fields of functional medicine and ancestral health. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, “The Paleo Cure” as well as the book, “Unconventional Medicine“. Chris is the co-founder and Educational Director of the California Center for Functional Medicine and the founder of the The Kresser Institute. Ticktective Video and Podcast Editor: Kiva Schweig.
Remember when we used to watch Captain Kirk talk into his chirping communicator and order Scotty to beam him up? And what about that handy medical scanner the size of a pack of cards that Dr. McCoy waved around to assess and diagnose his patients in the starship’s sick bay? We may now all have smartphones to stay in constant touch with each other, but outside of a state-of-the-art hospital with multi-million-dollar scanners and MRI machines, we are still some years away from the Star Fleet’s instantaneous medical technology, right?
Advances in our ability to gather real-time information on the human body are poised to revolutionize not just how we diagnose diseases, but make dramatic, life-altering, positive impacts on the critical timeline for diagnosis and treatment by detecting a disease event before symptoms occur. And Bay Area Lyme is leading the way by investing in research that will further illuminate our understanding of how—in real time—a Lyme infection impacts the human body through the data collected by wearable technologies.