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Possible New Treatment Route for Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms Discovered in a Study

Researchers at Tulane University have discovered a potentially effective new treatment for the neurological symptoms of Lyme disease that don’t go away even after receiving antibiotics, giving patients who still experience the disease’s long-term effects hope. Frontiers in Immunology reported their findings.

The bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease, is spread by tick bites and can cause a variety of symptoms, including damage to the central and peripheral nerve systems. Although most people can be successfully treated with antibiotics to eradicate the infection, some individuals may still endure side effects like discomfort, exhaustion, and memory loss. This is known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.

Principal investigator Geetha Parthasarathy, Ph.D., an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at the Tulane National Primate Research Center, has found that in brain and nerve tissue samples infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, fibroblast growth factor receptor inhibitors—a class of medication previously studied in the context of cancer—can significantly reduce inflammation and cell death.

Based on this study, patients with post-treatment Lyme disease condition may have an interesting new therapy option to address chronic neuroinflammation: targeting FGFR pathways.

“Our findings open the door to new research approaches that can help us support patients suffering from the lasting effects of Lyme disease,” Parthasarathy stated. “By focusing on the underlying inflammation that contributes to these symptoms, we hope to develop treatments that can improve the quality of life for those affected by this debilitating condition.”

Researchers first applied FGFR inhibitors to nerve tissue after treating it with live or inactivated Borrelia burgdorferi. The study’s findings showed a considerable decrease in cell death and inflammatory markers.

Although additional investigation is required to convert these results into therapeutic interventions, the study signifies a significant advancement in comprehending and maybe handling the intricate aftermath of Lyme sickness.

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