Potential new Lyme treatment in the pipeline?

Discussion in 'Lyme Disease Archives' started by mezombie, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. mezombie

    mezombie Member

    Excerpts from the article below:

    "The Viral Genetics proposal describes a potentially novel mechanism in which bacterial infection with the pathogen Borrelia burgdorfii activates the immune system. The new model suggests that the nature of the immune response may be responsible for the pathology of the disease and that targeted peptide therapy has the potential to resolve disease symptoms."
    ...

    "With a commitment to discovering and developing immune-based therapies for HIV and AIDS using its thymus nuclear protein compound (TNP), Viral Genetics' new model was initially proposed solely for HIV/AIDS. However, by unraveling the mechanism of TNP, Dr. Newell identified its potential promise in other diseases including Lyme Disease."

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    New Study Building off Viral Genetics' Research Aims to Unlock the Mysteries behind Lyme Disease and Other Immune Based Diseases Including HIV/AIDS
    Gift from Undisclosed Source Will Go towards Study Which Researchers Hope Will Reconcile Long-Standing Debate over Treatment of Lyme Disease

    Last update: 6:27 p.m. EDT Sept. 10, 2008 Marketwatch, Wall Street Journal online.

    AZUSA, Calif., Sep 10, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Viral Genetics, Inc. (Other OTC:VRAL), a biotechnology company that discovers and develops immune-based therapies, announced today it has completed an initial study that aims to unlock the mysteries behind Lyme Disease, which could also potentially offer answers to other immune-based diseases including HIV/AIDS. In addition, a $25,000 gift has been awarded from an undisclosed source to further explore this new model in Lyme Disease through follow-on studies which researchers, including lead investigator Professor M. Karen Newell, PhD, Professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, hope will serve to reconcile the long-standing and controversial debate in the medical community over treatment methods for Lyme Disease.

    "Since the addition of Professor Karen Newell to our existing Harvard team and as a result of our recent promising studies with our new model in HIV/AIDS, we have found that the model has potential promise in Lyme Disease," said Monica Ord, SVP of corporate development and communications for Viral Genetics. "Through the generosity of an undisclosed philanthropist, we will not only be answeringkey questions for Lyme Disease, but with this new data, the company will also be accelerating our ongoing studies in HIV/AIDS."

    Lyme Disease and Testing Challenges

    Lyme is mainly found in the eastern United States with smaller risk areas on the west coast. It is caused by the transmission of the Borrelia burgdorferi spirochete via the bite of the blacklegged Ixodes tick. Additional species are found in Europe and northern Asia.

    Lyme Disease has been reported in all 50 states with the highest incidence along the eastern seaboard, Wisconsin, Minnesota and northern California. The CDC reports a 100% increase in cases of Lyme Disease in the U.S. from 1991-2006, while recognizing that at least ten times more cases may go unreported. In 2005 alone, 23,305 cases were reported in the U.S.

    Regardless of location, primary symptoms of Lyme Disease are characterized by persistent fatigue, chronic musculoskeletal pain, and subjective cognitive slowing. Some authors refute the "chronic" label and instead attribute the symptoms to coincidence of the initial infection.

    Lyme testing is a challenge because symptoms vary and often mimic flu-like symptoms. The bite may not immediately result in antibody production so early negative diagnosis is an issue. The organism is also difficult to culture and slow growing to further complicate detection.

    Current Methods of Treatment

    Initial treatment of Lyme (regardless of stage) has been conventional antibiotics. Most cases caught early are cured by this treatment. Chronic Lyme Disease is that which persists past the conventional antibiotic therapy. The earlier treatment starts, the greater the chances for a complete recovery, but the difficulty in diagnosis can delay treatment and treatment success.

    The Controversy Over Treatment of Lyme Disease

    Research on chronic Lyme Disease, including symptoms related to the central nervous system and arthritis, has generated inconclusive and controversial results. Some researchers contend Lyme is driven by chronic infection and recommend patients be treated with antibiotics for the long term. Others support the hypothesis that the disease is the result of autoimmune T-cell activation that occurs subsequent to the initial infection or after the infection has cleared.

    "Our hopes are that the information acquired from this very important study, may act as a bridge between those who contend that Lyme Disease is an active chronic infection and those who feel it is an autoimmune trigger. The answer to this question is of great importance for all those suffering in the Lyme community. Only through this information can we begin to formulate more successful treatment regimens for the chronically ill," said Dr. Steven Harris, co-investigator, Associate Professor Stanford University.

    Study Aims to Unlock Mysteries, Reconcile Debate

    The Viral Genetics proposal describes a potentially novel mechanism in which bacterial infection with the pathogen Borrelia burgdorfii activates the immune system. The new model suggests that the nature of the immune response may be responsible for the pathology of the disease and that targeted peptide therapy has the potential to resolve disease symptoms.

    "The model reconciles both the initial disease and accounts for the consequent processes that appear pathologically similar to autoimmune disease, whether the Borrelia organisms survive in the host or not," said Dr. Newell, lead investigator of the study team.

    A Gift To Support Further Research

    An undisclosed philanthropist has provided a $25,000 gift that will go towards additional research of this new model in Lyme Disease being conducted by Dr. Newell.

    "We are so grateful for this gift," said Dr. Newell. "It will allow us to test this new model in initial 'proof of concept' experiments that relate infections with a kind of immune response that develops in certain people, in a genetically determined manner, that may lead to chronic, inflammatory disease. The model provides a different perspective on how both the pathogen and the immune response may contribute to chronic disease instead of full recovery from infection."

    Research in HIV/AIDS May Lead to Breakthrough in Lyme

    With a commitment to discovering and developing immune-based therapies for HIV and AIDS using its thymus nuclear protein compound (TNP), Viral Genetics' new model was initially proposed solely for HIV/AIDS. However, by unraveling the mechanism of TNP, Dr. Newell identified its potential promise in other diseases including Lyme Disease.

    "This new model shows promise, and we look forward to what further research could potentially yield for the many thousands of people afflicted with this mysterious disease worldwide, and other immune-based diseases such as HIV/AIDS," added Newell.
    [This Message was Edited on 09/12/2008]
  2. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    This is really interesting stuff. So happy to hear that this work is being done!

    Really good news!

    Peace out,
    Rafiki
  3. victoria

    victoria New Member

    Sounds promising and hopeful... I hope they get more funding. Lyme & Co needs some unbiased research, a LOT of unbiased research. I'm sure no one with it or any other tick born infection cares as to why they are still suffering long after initial infection... wonder if they're set up to take individual contributions. Well, that is, IF they really are unbiased, will have to research it/them.

    It's sad that so much research now depends on the funding from drugs companies, that little is done as 'pure research' without an agenda.

    Thanks again... still love your name!
    Victoria

  4. mezombie

    mezombie Member

    What's interesting is that Viral Genetics has come up with a treatment that is already available for other diseases and may help with Lyme Disease. It's an immune modulator.

    Given the sometimes harsh and lengthy available Lyme treatments, I think it's great to hear of another potential approach.

    Thanks for the replies, Maddiemads, Rafiki, and Victoria.
  5. Daisys

    Daisys Member

    Thank you so much for this information. I'm going to give a copy of it to my LLMD. He appreciates getting articles about the latest in lyme research.