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.
Guest blog by Dr. William St. Lawrence, Village Square Veterinarian, Portola Valley Village Square
May is Lyme Awareness month but it is only the beginning of peak season in the Bay Area for the troublesome nymphal blacklegged ticks that can carry Lyme disease. As we come to the final days of the month, it is not time to let down your guard.
In this guest post, popular local veterinarian Dr. William St. Lawrence shares some important facts about keeping you and your pets safe for the rest of this spring and early summer.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) are jointly developing a systematic review and guideline on treatment of Lyme disease.
The 30-day open Public Comment period on the Lyme Disease Guideline Project Plan started March 8 through April 9.During the Public Comment period, anyone may comment on any aspect of the Plan, including the methodology and development process utilized as well as adherence to the IOM standards. Please see here for more details.
Common Allergy Medication May Be Effective In Starving and Killing the Bacteria That Causes Lyme Disease According to New Study
Study Offers Insights Into Metabolic Activity of Borrelia burgdorferi and May Lead to First Targeted Therapy for Lyme Disease
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.
“Lyme is a debilitating illness for which diagnosis is critical for cure.” –Dr. Jerome Bouquet
Jerome Bouquet, PhD, was recognized in May 2014 as an Emerging Leader in the field of Lyme research. This award recognizes creative ingenuity and novel approaches for the development of better diagnostics and treatment for Lyme disease. The award also carries a $100,000 project grant to fund a new research initiative. Here, Dr. Bouquet talks about his work in the field and his funded project, “Development of a Host Biomarker Assay for the Diagnosis of Acute and Post-Treatment Lyme Disease.”
Q: Earlier this year, you were recognized by Bay Area Lyme Foundation as one of the Emerging Leaders in the field of Lyme disease research.Tell us about your project, what do you hope to accomplish?
A:The project emerged as a result of (1) the lack of sensitive diagnostics for Lyme disease; and (2) the expertise of our laboratory in next generation sequencing. We are developing the unbiased detection of a large number of pathogens. But Lyme disease is trickier, because Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria responsible for the disease, is only transiently present in the blood at low titer. So instead of looking for the pathogen, we are examining the human host at a cellular level. How do immune cells respond to the infection and how can we decode and measure their response? That’s what transcriptome profiling is.
It is that time of year when we reflect and take stock of all that’s happened over the past 12 months – the highs and the highlights and what it portends for the year ahead. As we quickly approach the close of 2014, we are proud of the progress that has been made and grateful to all those who helped create greater awareness, understanding, and discovery around Lyme disease, its agents, and its progression. It has been a year of collaboration and innovation across the research field with promising developments for new treatments and diagnostics
Elet Hall is nothing short of a marvel. This amazing athlete is a four-time competitor on American Ninja Warrior, where he is known as “The Natural” for his seemingly effortless runs. The first two years he successfully made it to the Las Vegas finals despite suffering from undiagnosed Lyme disease. Shortly after the 2013 finals, he woke up one day with facial paralysis and his joints and limbs numbed with fatigue. After being diagnosed and successfully treated for Lyme disease, he again returned in 2014 to triumph in his third attempt at the competition. After dominating Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the national finals, Elet finally succumbed to the floating doors in Stage 3, coming in 2nd place in his third attempt at the competition.
This year, Elet again returned to the ANW stage, with a dominating “run of the night” at the 2015 Pittsburgh Qualifiers. (Check out Elet’s facebook page for the video!) and then headed to the Pittsburgh City Finals on August 10th. At the finals, Elet had a tough run, narrowly surviving a missed grab on the monkey bars before finally slipping on the last few doorknobs. Even with the surprising fall, however, Hall still was among the fastest finalists, qualifying him to move on to Las Vegas for the national finals and the battle for a $1 million grand prize. [Read here for more about the August finals.) Unfortunately it was not Elet’s year to walk away with the grand prize but we will be rooting for him in next year’s competition!!
Here in a November 2014 excerpt from a longer story on our Faces of Lyme feature, he shares some perspective about the challenges of fighting Lyme disease as an athlete:
Clinicians, Researchers Gather in Boston to Discuss Science of Lyme Disease — Conference Unites Lyme Disease Research Community
Boston, MA — A national scientific conference entitled “Lyme Borreliosis and Tick-Borne Illnesses: Diagnostics, Emerging Pathogens and Avenues for New Research,” brought a broad range of researchers and clinicians to Boston November 8 and 9 to discuss tick-borne diseases, share emerging ideas and knowledge, and assess the most promising avenues for research into the future. Held at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the conference drew more than 200 people from across the country and around the world intent on collaborating through the power of science to find answers to some of the most complex and often-misunderstood diseases. The two-day forum, to which the Bay Area Lyme Foundation provided an unrestricted educational grant, also featured the presentation of awards recognizing several scientists for their contributions to the understanding and treatment of Lyme disease.
Lisa Blum is an enterprising young scientist and postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University School of Medicine, working in the lab of Dr. Bill Robinson. Earlier this year she was recognized as a Bay Area Lyme Foundation Emerging Leader and received a $100,000 project grant. Here she talks about her research, life at Stanford, and the impact of the award.
Q: Earlier this year, your project, “Sequencing of Antibody Responses to Borrelia burgdorferi Infection — Generation of Recombinant Antibodies with Diagnostic and Therapeutic Utility” helped earn you recognition as a Bay Area Lyme Emerging Leader.Tell us about your project and what you hope to accomplish.
Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system that protect us from infections, but in some cases the antibodies themselves can damage the human body. Our goal is to characterize antibodies produced during different stages of Lyme disease, and to generate monoclonal antibodies that can be used to improve on existing Lyme disease treatments and diagnosis.