‘when Northeastern researchers reported last May how the bacterium that causes the disease evades antibiotics, suggesting new treatments, the media and the general public took notice.
University Distinguished Professor Kim Lewis, who leads the Lyme disease research team, is now expanding that therapeutic reach with the help of a $1.5 million grant from the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation.
The team is pursuing four arms of treatment-related research at Northeastern’s Antimicrobial Discovery Center, which Lewis directs.
They are: a mouse study of a regimen that eradicated the bacterium in the test tube, setting the stage for human trials; antibiotic cocktails using existing drugs; strategies to discover new drugs that selectively target the Lyme bacterium; and ways to alter the composition of the microbiome—the community of microorganisms inhabiting the human body—to stop the autoimmune reactions that characterize the disease.
All four show exciting promise. The grant, Lewis says, “will give us the flexibility to test our approaches in parallel, which will save us an enormous amount of time.”
If Lyme is caught early, patients generally recover quickly when treated with antibiotics, primarily doxycyline. However, 10 to 20 percent of patients go on to develop a debilitating chronic condition called Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, or PTLDS, with symptoms that include extreme fatigue, arthritis, muscle pain, and cognitive difficulties.
“I find it amazing that when you show up at the doctor’s office you are not told that there is a 10 to 20 percent chance that your life as you know it has ended,” says Lewis. “Nobody seems to be focusing on the next step: How to prevent the subsequent rise of the chronic condition.”
Drugs combined and discovered
Doxycycline may be standard first-line treatment for Lyme, but, says Lewis, it doesn’t even kill B. burgdorferi, it just suppresses its growth, leaving the rest of the work to the immune system. “We simply asked the question: ‘Is it possible to combine existing antibiotics to treat not only chronic Lyme but any stage of Lyme if the diagnosis is unambiguous?”
The researchers have already found combinations that are effective against the B. burgdorferi in the test tube and will move on to animal studies next.’
The full article can be read :- http://www.northeastern.edu/news/2016/03/researchers-investigate-four-promising-new-treatments-for-lyme-disease/
An earlier news item can be read :- http://www.visavissymposiums.org/prof-kim-lewis-persister-borrelia/