Dr. Allen Steere has to admit to Lyme “persisters”. It must make him furious after almost four decades of denying the existence of chronic Lyme disease. Many consider Dr. Steere to be the biggest obstacle to getting effective diagnosis and treatment to the public, after all, his reputation is on the line, and what a reputation! For a full biography see Wikipedia.
Although Steere is considered by mainstream medical circles to be the foremost authority on Lyme disease, he is universally hated by those with chronic Lyme disease – enraging some so intensely that he actually received a death threat in 2000 from a Lyme sufferer (read the fascinating story here as reported by the New York Times).
This vitriol is driven by intense pain and suffering from people who continue to have debilitating symptoms from Lyme disease even after 2 – 4 weeks of antibiotics – a fail safe cure according to Steere.
Steere has stubbornly dismissed chronic Lyme disease as a “junk-drawer” diagnosis used to label hypochondriacs or patients with a non-medical condition. No, Steere doesn’t “believe” in chronic Lyme disease, and has used his position of influence to train new doctors in his image.
Thankfully Steere’s power appears to be coming to an end due to the recent publications from multiple top-tier university studies. John Hopkins, Stanford and Northeastern all released major research papers within the last 2 years addressing the persistent form of bacteria involved in Lyme disease. Yes, in spite of the heated debate about the very existence of persistent Lyme, there were universities across the country studying the cause of this supposed “junk drawer” diagnosis.
Momentum has grown beyond the power of Steere to control. Now, the existence of persister Lyme bacteria is universally acknowledged and the race is on to find a cure.
Yes, antibiotics cure most infections but the problem with Lyme disease is that the bacteria, Borrelia, is morphological and can change forms at will – which is why treatment for chronic Lyme seemed to require several types of antibiotics.
However, according to researchers at Northeastern, the key to eradicating persister cells, at least in a test tube, is not in the number or types of antibiotics, but in the effective application of pulsing antibiotics.
From the abstract:
“…Treatment of the late stage disease may require multiple courses of antibiotic therapy. Given that antibiotic resistance has not been observed for B. burgdorferi, the reason for the recalcitrance of late stage disease to antibiotics is unclear. In other chronic infections, the presence of drug-tolerant persisters has been linked to recalcitrance of the disease. In this study, we examined the ability of B. burgdorferi to form persisters. Killing of growing cultures of B. burgdorferi with antibiotics used to treat the disease was distinctly biphasic, with a small subpopulation of surviving cells. Upon regrowth, these cells formed a new subpopulation of antibiotic-tolerant cells, indicating that these are persisters rather than resistant mutants. The level of persisters increased sharply as the culture transitioned from exponential to stationary phase. Combinations of antibiotics did not improve killing. Daptomycin, a membrane-active bactericidal antibiotic, killed stationary phase cells, but not persisters. Mitomycin C, an anti-cancer agent that forms adducts with DNA, killed persisters and eradicated both growing and stationary cultures of B. burgdorferi. Finally, we examined the ability of pulse-dosing an antibiotic to eliminate persisters. After addition of ceftriaxone, the antibiotic was washed away, surviving persisters were allowed to resuscitate, and antibiotic was added again. Four pulse-doses of ceftriaxone killed persisters, eradicating all live bacteria in the culture. “
This a a tremendous break-through that emphasizes a treatment technique that has been promoted by LLMD’s for years, and will hopefully pave the way for a united medical approach to the Lyme pandemic.