Researchers have been working on a treatment for Lyme disease that uses a more atypical approach to fighting it. Reportedly, the results from the testing so far have been auspicious.
According to NBC News, the researchers have been formulating a prevention for Lyme disease that will build up the immune system in order to fight it off. Specifically, they have been working on a “lab-engineered antibody” that will protect against the disease for an entire season. During testing on lab mice, the mice were totally protected against the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, the Borrelia bacteria.
The antibody that makes this all possible is called a monoclonal antibody. The research team made it clear that this prevention method is not a vaccine. Dr. Mark Klempner, who is from the University of Massachusetts’ nonprofit vaccine development branch, MassBiologics, explained the difference between a vaccine, and the antibody that was created by the research team.
“This is not a vaccine and has many advantages over a vaccine. The way a vaccine works is that you give people pieces of the bacteria or the virus that you are interested in preventing and then the body mounts a big immune response.”
This particular Lyme disease prevention is supposedly superior to vaccines. Where vaccines aid in the creation of antibodies that are used to fight the disease, this antibody specifically targets the bacteria that causes Lyme.
“With the monoclonal antibody strategy, you are immune immediately. As soon as you take the shot, you have the highest level of immunity.”
The researchers collected the antibodies by using mice that were genetically engineered to have human immune system genes. They made the mice immune to the Borrelia bacteria, which causes Lyme disease, then took the antibodies that were produced by the now-immune mice.
“We identified four that were very, very potent against multiple strains of the Lyme disease-causing bacteria, both here and in Europe.”
After reaping the antibodies from those mice, the research team injected the antibodies into new mice. Once the new mice received just one injection of the monoclonal antibody, they were immune to large measures of the Borrelia bacteria, and even bites from ticks who were carriers of Lyme disease.
Klempner indicated that MassBiologics is making preparations to be able to test their monoclonal antibody on human subjects by next year. He also said that it is the goal of the university to be able to produce the antibody and provide it to the public at an affordable price.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 300,000 people get Lyme disease every year. Reportedly, the disease is spreading farther south and west. Compared to 1993, Lyme disease has been found in four times as many counties today than 22-years ago.
Yolanda, during her acceptance speech, spoke of her debilitating disease and how it has affected her life and her parenting. Despite the impact her suffering had on her parenting, her children grew up to be very successful. Both her daughters, Bella and Gigi Hadid, are supermodels.
Singer Avril Lavigne also battles Lyme disease. Both women use their affluence and celebrity to help spread awareness of the disease. According to People, Dr. Raphael Kellman, the founder of the Kellman Center for Integrative and Functional Medicine, says that a lot of people just settle and live with their symptons. When celebrities like Avril and Yolanda reach out and speak up about Lyme disease, it gives hope and confidence to those diagnosed.
[Photo Courtesy of Getty Images]