Biofilms that form in the human body are up to ten thousand times more resistant to antibiotics than free-floating bacteria, making them very difficult to treat medically. These biofilms are responsible for the extreme persistence of many difficult to treat illnesses like Legionnaire’s disease, Staphylococcus aureus (“Staph”), and infectious bronchitis, that can trouble patients with frustrating symptoms for years.
Some years ago researchers showed that biofilms might also be helping the Lyme-causing bacteria evade treatment.(1) These findings have excited Lyme researchers who have since been exploring various treatment strategies designed to target the entire bacterial colony. If successful, these treatments might bring long-needed relief to patients with late-stage or persistent Lyme disease where antibiotics have previously failed.
At Bay Area Lyme Foundation, we are also inspired by these discoveries and hopeful about the treatment options they may bring. Recently we invited Daina Zeng, a Senior Scientist at Agile Sciences, to talk about the work her team is doing adapting Agile’s proprietary non-toxic organic compounds to disperse these bacterial colonies (technology they have leveraged for medical, agricultural, and industrial uses). Her post follows.
(Note: Bay Area Lyme Foundation is a research and informational organization, not a medical entity. The Foundation does not advocate or endorse any particular treatment or clinical approach but is devoted to the sharing of information and the facilitation of new research in hopes that better diagnostics tools and therapies can be discovered. Please consult your physician or clinician for more information about specific or individual treatments.)
“In 2013, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute discovered that the Lyme-causing Borreliaburgdorferi organism is manganese-dependent, because it substitutes manganese where almost all other organisms use iron for survival. By using manganese, the Borrelia is assisted in evading the immune system, which typically responds to foreign pathogens by starving them of iron. Further, manganese is important for the human body (helping to monitor blood sugar levels, supporting production of collagen for tissue repair, and even helping the central nervous system to function properly) and there is no easy way to shut down the manganese supply to these organisms.
Bay Area Lyme Foundation To Provide Tick and Lyme Disease Education in the Solano Resource Conservation District
Program is open to the public and part of extensive education program throughout the Bay Area
Silicon Valley, California, October 26, 2015—The Bay Area Lyme Foundation, which aims to make Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, will provide training about ticks and Lyme disease to naturalists, outdoor educators, program managers and the general public in the Solano Resource Conservation District, as well as other local agencies, to better educate area students, parents and classroom teachers. The program is part of an educational initiative started at Bay Area Lyme Foundation to inform California residents about prevention, the proper removal of ticks, and symptoms of tick-borne diseases.It is based on new information that Lyme disease is endemic to the area.
Bay Area Lyme Foundation Announces Grant Application for Two $100,000 Awards for Lyme Disease Research
‘Emerging Leader Award’ aims to attract new scientific talent to address scientific challenges of Lyme disease
Silicon Valley, California, October 5, 2015—The Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading national funder of Lyme disease research in the US, today announced a call for applications for two $100,000 Bay Area Lyme Foundation ‘Emerging Leader Award’ grants.These awards will be given to two promising scientists who embody the future of leadership in Lyme disease research in the US.The award recipients will be researchers in academia or the private sector who are currently at the post-doctoral level through the assistant Professor level, or equivalent, who have identified a defined approach to improve diagnostics or therapies for Lyme disease. Important criteria include demonstrated professional and scientific leadership in the biomedical sciences and a strong supporting scientific rationale for the project.Research efforts funded by the award are required to generate initial proof of concept within 12–18 months.
“We just have to speak up so that people can get better.” It’s a pretty straight forward line in the transcript of one of the stories in Allie Cashel’s new book Suffering the Silence: Chronic Lyme Disease in an Age of Denial (2015), but it’s also a call to action — a call inviting others to find their voices and share their stories to create the public momentum for change. Lyme disease is an epidemic that should be of concern to the general public and yet has too little awareness and far too few answers.
The following is a guest post from a local veterinarian and long-time SF Bay area resident, Dr. Michael Sterns, DVM. He shares a story about the recent diagnosis of a four-legged patient with Lyme disease. It is rare for the blood tests to come back definitive in dogs so this case is unusual but the lessons are clear and relevant for all dog owners here and around the country.
I thought people might be interested in a case we saw last week, and might truly see how an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure! Lyme disease in your dog is so easily prevented here in the SF Bay area, this story will surely leave you scratching your head. Happily, the dog in question will be OK – all because we caught it so early.
Why is it that Lyme disease is so little understood, so hard to diagnose, and so frustratingly difficult to get treated? Such were the questions discussed last night at the first of the new Bay Area Lyme Foundation Speaker Series talks.
2014 Emerging Leader Award recipient Jerome Bouquet, PhD, UCSF, began the program with a compelling overview of the history of Lyme disease and its pathology, highlighting some of the complicated attributes of the Lyme-causing spirochete and the manifestations of its infection. He touched on promising new technologies like the Tick Chip and the IBIS-developed Iridica, which use unbiased DNA amplification and multiplex assays with greater sensitivity (and more immediate results) than traditional methods. He also described promising developments in transcriptomics that have illustrated the lingering effects of the disease up to six months after treatment, and
The following is a guest post by a young author and Lyme patient who has turned her experience into a catalyst to help others find their voice and break the silence around long-term struggles with Lyme disease and other chronic illnesses. You can read more about Allie in our Faces of Lyme section and on her own website, sufferingthesilence.com.
Everyone knew about Lyme disease in the town where I grew up. “Easy to diagnose and simple to treat,” people said. “As long as you get the medicine in you, you’ll be fine.” As a kid, I was always hearing stories about someone who had recently been diagnosed with Lyme – parents, cousins, siblings, pets – and in almost every case, the stories I heard were short.
New Study Reveals Ticks in Bay Area Carry Larger Diversity of Bacteria Than Expected and May Help Explain Why Lyme Disease Symptoms Vary Widely Among Bay Area Patients
Rates of tick infection with Borrelia miyamotoi are found to be higher in the Bay Area than previously documented on East Coast, and Tick-borne disease infection risk is shown to be higher in Redwood habitats than previously believed
SILICON VALLEY, Calif., August 19, 2015 — Bay Area Lyme Foundation, which is working to make Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, highlights a new Bay Area studyconducted by researchers from Stanford and Northern Arizona Universities documenting a vast diversity of bacterial species and strains that cause tick-borne diseases in Bay Area residents and visitors.The variety of bacterial species and strains identified may be the reason that Bay Area patients with tick-borne diseases experience a wide range of symptoms, which may or may not include flu-like complaints, joint pain, fatigue and a rash of differing shapes, thereby making exact diagnoses extremely difficult.
As part of our education outreach, Bay Area Lyme identified a need for an interactive, informative, “nature-museum” style experience that would help teach children about Lyme disease.
Knowing that young people are often incredible problem solvers and innovators and eager to tap a community with direct empathy for our target market, we approached D-Tech High, a new charter school in Millbrae, with a design challenge. We asked the students to design an educational and engaging, self-contained, “children’s museum-like” experience to spread awareness about Lyme disease and provide children with tick-bite prevention tips.