The 12th Invest in ME Conference, Part 1
OverTheHills presents the first article in a series of three about the recent 12th Invest In ME international Conference (IIMEC12) in London.
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Testing for lyme by using a non-infected tick to bite you and testing its blood

Discussion in 'Lyme Disease and Co-Infections' started by Matthew Jones, Apr 15, 2017.

  1. Matthew Jones

    Matthew Jones Senior Member

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    My CFS started with an officially diagnosed lyme infection. This has lead me to never being certain that I don't have chronic lyme, instead of CFS. But the lyme testing is notoriously unreliable. The one type of testing I have read to be infallible, is detecting lyme in ticks. They can find if a tick is infected with lyme, but not if a human is very well.

    So why don't they let a tick that doesn't have lyme bit you, become infetched, and then test the tick?

    I thought the reason is that this is not economically viable, as it would be crazy to be rearing thousands of ticks to bite people. It would be highly unusual. But given the severity of the problem, which is years of lifelong disability and a huge cost to the economy, surely it would be worth it?

    Is there a reason why this hasn't been done? I would pay a lot for a 100% accurate lyme test like this.
     
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  2. Skippa

    Skippa Senior Member

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    It hasn't been done because they've got their fingers in their ears saying "lalala no such thing as chronic lyme".

    I guess.

    They know Lyme is a thing, but also they "know" that once caught, 3 weeks of abx will clear it once and for all. (That's what they think anyways, sufferers know different of course, but false illness beliefs are a real bummer, right?)

    Interesting idea though, I really like it.
     
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  3. duncan

    duncan Senior Member

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    They are testing this (xenodiagnosis) at the NIH in Bethesda. It's a pet project of Adriana Marques, Head Of Lyme Research.

    The thing is, just because you have Lyme, doesn't mean it will be picked up by the tick. The same sequestered notion of the disease would apply, despite the seeming affinity for ticks to acquire the infection when feeding.
     
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  4. Matthew Jones

    Matthew Jones Senior Member

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    Interesting, I found the study I think you are referring to:
    https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02446626

    Any idea why it says the completion date isn't until 2030? It says the primary completion date is 2020. Would be interested to know what the means in terms of when we will see published results.

    Is there anyone else doing this? If it was in the UK then I would try and get tested in this way.
     
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  5. duncan

    duncan Senior Member

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    Job security? :rolleyes:

    I would be a little concerned about any assurances the tick would be without co-infections. I assume they are using ticks bred for this purpose, but how diligent are they when checking for new and emerging co-infections like Borrelia Miyamotoi?

    They had released some preliminary results - like a couple of years ago.

    As I said, if Bb has a tropism for tissue, and trends away from blood, the same limitations about capturing it in a blood draw would logically seem to apply.

    Personally, I would prefer they invested research $'s in building a better culture or PCR mechanism. Xenodiagnosis seems a bit convoluted.
     
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  6. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    Cornwall, UK
    I've wondered about this, too, because ticks release something when they bite which borrelia can detect in the bloodstream, causing some of the resident borrelia to go in search of the tick so they can carry on their life-cycle and ultimately find new hosts. So this does seem like a very promising route to testing for an active infection. If borrelia are present in the body, some of them should seek out a biting tick.

    Very exciting to hear someone's working on it.
     
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  7. duncan

    duncan Senior Member

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    That is the theory.

    The cynic in me might observe it is also a good excuse for not investing into more direct methods. It seems like most recent NIH-sponsored efforts at improved diagnostics result in distancing the science even further from direct means, as opposed to moving closer.

    If you take a look at diagnostic efforts over the last ten years or so, most (if not all) are dedicated to early or acute Lyme. None to late stage. More to the point, most NIH-backed efforts since 2000 are meant to refine ELISA or WB tests, both indirect methods. The C6 is a case-in-point; the C6 peptide test, btw, is what is used in the UK.

    Xenodiagnosis for Lyme is comparable to leeching for hemochromitosis - it may work, but not very well - so it's always felt somewhat like posturing to me.

    There are many incentives for interested parties to maintain the status quo in TBD diagnostics, and the NIH arguably is one of the interested parties (once you unravel the personnel and the politics involved since the 1990's and the Dearborn commission, and who gets what monies in the $500 million Lyme diagnostic market).

    Marques released some preliminary data 12-36 months back. If I recall, the data was just barely exciting enough to warrant throwing more money at it. It was a post-treatment carrot, I think.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
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