More than 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne illness in the United States, are diagnosed each year. In a new interview with CMRubinWorld, Dr. Brian Fallon, Director of the Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center reveals that despite the challenges to find a cure for this complex, debilitating disease, precision medicine and biotechnology are accelerating the discovery of new tools with which doctors will be able to diagnose it and treat patients.
In an authoritative new book, Columbia University Medical Center physicians Brian Fallon and Jennifer Sotsky explain why there is much cause for optimism. “Through rapid genetic sequencing, scientists can identify many different strains of Borrelia burgdorferi (causative agent of Lyme disease) as well as new tick-borne microbial infections, such as Borrelia miyamotoi, Borrelia mayonii, and the Heartland virus,” says Fallon. The discovery of these new microbes inside ticks has significantly helped researchers since it “provides a starting point for the study of pathogenesis, vaccine development, and treatment.” Fallon notes that researchers have also been able to screen thousands of drugs to determine which have the ability to destroy Borrelia.
Brian Fallon, MD, MPH is the Director of the Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the author with Jennifer Sotsky of Conquering Lyme Disease: Science Bridges the Great Divide, published in 2018 by Columbia University Press.
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