One of the lessons learned in the experience of being an active advocate for people suffering with Lyme disease is the necessity to pause to celebrate successes every now and then. In the past year or so, and particularly in the past month, there have been real reasons to stand up and cheer a number of advancements that indicate that we are, slowly but surely, moving the mountain of obstacles that have plagued the Lyme issue.
Three of the most significant reasons for celebration are these:
Dr. Kim Lewis of Northeastern University’s revelations about the nature of persister cells in patients with Lyme disease. Not only have he and his team identified these persisters as a unique form of Borrelia, but they have had success in treating these cells. This new research should be a game-changer. Read it here
Dr. Garth Ehrlich, executive director of Drexel’s Center for Advanced Microbial Processing & the Center for Genomic Sciences has reported on the role of other microbial agents in making – and keeping- people sick, and his work focusing on the role of biofilms is paving the way for expanded understanding of the multi-faceted complexity of tick-borne diseases. Read it Here
And on the political front, Congressman Chris Gibson announced on July 10, 2015 the passage in the House of the 21st Century Cures Act (HR 6), landmark legislation that will hasten the development of cures for a host of diseases, including Lyme disease. This bipartisan bill includes the legislation Gibson authored to combat Lyme disease and tick-borne illnesses, prioritizing federal research, setting benchmarks for progress on treatment and cures, acknowledging chronic Lyme, and giving patients and physicians who treat tick-borne illnesses a voice in the process. Indications are that the Senate will pass the bill as well, provided that the public voices their request to have it passed, and that the President will sign it. The physicians and the advocates who are fighting this battle will finally get a seat at the table, and the long-standing culture of denying chronic or long-term Lyme disease will be forcefully challenged where policy is made. This is very good news.
Other positive indicators abound, from significantly enhanced (and improved) media reporting to the increased number of forums and public information sessions all over the country. It seems that the pace of the progress is picking up! That’s very good news, too!