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Researchers find new treatment path for lasting Lyme disease symptoms

ANI Apr 24, 2024

Tulane University researchers have discovered a promising new strategy for treating persistent neurological symptoms associated with Lyme disease, providing hope to patients who continue to suffer from the bacterial infection even after receiving antibiotic treatment.

The findings were published in Frontiers in Immunology.

Lyme disease, caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and spread through tick bites, can produce a variety of symptoms, including those affecting the central and peripheral neurological systems.

While medications can effectively treat the infection in most cases, a portion of people continue to endure symptoms such as memory loss, exhaustion, and pain--a condition known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.

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

This discovery suggests that targeting FGFR pathways may offer an exciting new therapeutic approach to addressing persistent neuroinflammation in patients with post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.

"Our findings open the door to new research approaches that can help us support patients suffering from the lasting effects of Lyme disease," Parthasarathy said.

"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."

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