A New and Improved Lyme Disease Test

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Interviewer: Your company has a new test for Lyme Disease. Can you talk about why that's important, and how it's different from what's been the conventional testing method?

Bradley Bush: Sure. The Neuroscience Company is now offering the iSpot Lyme test. The iSpot Lyme test was a test that was designed and created by our Pharmasan Labs partner. The researchers at Pharmasan had taken the immunospot technology which is currently, right now, an FDA-approved test for tuberculosis, and they tweaked it. They added the antigenic material of Borrelia burgdorferi to that methodology, and now we have what is called the iSpot Lyme test. iSpot Lyme test is the first of its kind. It's a cellular immune based test for Lyme disease. It measures T Lymphocyte activity to the Borrelia burgdorferi antigens.

Interviewer: Can you explain how that's different from what's been the common Lyme disease test, and why the difference may be beneficial to people?

Bradley Bush: Historically, most doctors have been using the CDC-approved western blot test. The western blot test evaluates the antibody response to Borrelia burgdorferi. It's an antibody signature, which means it's a humoral immune response. This is a test that has been around for a long time, it's been reported to have a sensitivity between 30 and 50 percent, it's highly specific but has a 30 to 50 percent specificity. The iSpot Lyme test offers a different approach. It's looking at a cellular immune response, so one step before the antibodies are created, your T cells are created. So the T cells, when they're activated, then create both an innate and adapted immune response. The adapted immune response is the humoral reaction, the innate response is more of a cellular immune up regulation. What the T cells also do is create memory T cells. So you have regular T cells, and you have memory T cells being created. One of the main benefits of the iSpot Lyme test is that instead of a 30 to 50 percent specificity like western blot, it has a 84 percent specificity to the Borrelia burgdorferi  infection. That is providing a hope for many patients out there to finally get a better diagnosis to what is actually ailing them.

Interviewer: And if we get that better diagnosis, how beneficial is that, to know with more certainty exactly what the problem is? And how can that help treatments down the road?

Bradley Bush: The iSpot Lyme test offers a revolutionary way that doctors can evaluate Lyme disease. When a doctor is confident that a patient has Lyme disease, they will be able to aggressively treat them with antibiotics and other co-therapies that can target Borrelia burgdorferi . In addition to that, because of its high sensitivity and specificity, it can eliminate the diagnosis of Lyme disease in other patients, so doctors aren't wasting the patients' time, or possibly harming them , by treating the wrong disease. In addition to that, iSpot Lyme test, because it's measuring a T lymphocyte activity, can be used to monitor the effectiveness of a treatment. So if a patient tests positive, then they can be tested in 6 to 8 weeks after therapy to see if the number of T cells responding to Borrelia burgdorferi  have decreased in activity. That helps the doctor identify length and success of a treatment.


Dr. Bradley Bush discusses a new and more accurate test for Lyme Disease. He describes the benefits of this new test and why it might be more beneficial than current tests that are used.

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