Immune Evasion

The new research coming out of Hopkin’s and Kim Lewis’s lab on persisters and Dr Eva Sapi’s and Alan MacDonald’s lab on biofilm colonies protecting the Lyme bacteria, all point in the direction of a solution not just for Lyme but for many chronic bacterial infections. When these studies are combine with prior research showing PCR and culture positivity for Borrelia after short term and long term antibiotics, we are poised to institute new therapies using novel drugs and pulsing regimens to find cures.

Borrelia has been shown to be capable of affecting our immune system, preventing it from having a long lasting, functional antibody response. Prior studies showed that Borrelia is able to kill important immune cells in our body such as lymphocytes, and that some serum resistant strains of Borrelia evade the complement pathway, which is another way our immune system helps to clean pathogens from the body.

Besides hiding from the immune system, borrelia goes deep into the tissues where antibiotics can’t penetrate well. Borrelia can hide and persist in the eyes, central nervous system (i.e.glial cells in the brain), joints, ligaments and fibroblasts of the skin. Borrelia can also hide in the intra-cellular compartment, and the intracellular infections can be difficult to completely eradicate. Co-infections also contribute to chronic illness.

Borrelia, Bartonella, Mycoplasma and chlamydia species can all hide within the intracellular compartment and act synergistically to increase inflammation and cause resistant illness.

The failure of single intracellular antibiotic therapy for Lyme, Bartonella, and mycoplasma require, double, triple, and even quadruple intracellular antibiotic therapies if we are to get our sickest patients better. Some antibiotics only work with actively replicating bacteria B. burgdorferi, can go dormant for long periods of time.