Dr. Jasdave Chahal, a virologist from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is proposing the use of nonoparticles to immunize people from diseases – including Lyme disease.In an article posted at Yahoo! Tech , Chahal has been working with his good friend and MIT associate, Dr. Omar Khan, a chemical engineer to make his idea work.
How? Khan structured a “nanomaterials package” to deliver the appropriate messenger RNA as nanoparticles, which can enter cells, mimic viral infections, raise cellular alarms, and use the instructions contained within the RNA to activate the cell’s defenses.
“Our programmable RNA vaccines are quite different from traditional vaccines because [ours] are fully synthetic,” Khan told Digital Trends. “They do not require living systems to grow and produce the final product. Also, unlike typical vaccines, no matter what the disease target is, this efficient production method is identical every time.”
So far, Chahal and Kahn have successfully immunized mice to Ebola, H1N1 influenza, and a relative of the parasite that causes malaria, Toxoplasma gondii, with 100 percent effectiveness. But they aren’t limited to these three diseases. When the scientists want to prep an immune system for a different disease, they say they can reprogram the RNA to deliver the relevant alternative antigens. As such, the next diseases they intend to target include the Zika virus and Lyme disease.
Perhaps the most promising aspect is how quickly the RNA and nanomaterials can be manufactured. In just a matter of days, a large quantity of nanomaterials can be stockpiled and disease-specific RNA vaccines can be developed, according to a paper the researchers published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The development of nanotechnology is very exciting for combating Lyme disease by preventing it (without having to use pesticides or decimating deer populations), as well as hope for better diagnostic and treatment options.
In addition to Ceres testing, recent progress has been made at Penn University using nanotechnology to detect the actual Borrelia infection instead of looking for the antibodies using the current two-tier testing which some doctors believe miss up to 40% of Lyme cases.