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Watch below: GLA's Chief Scientific Offer introduces our latest research initiative, The Bartonella Discovery Program



Global Lyme Alliance (GLA) has launched a crowdfunding campaign in honor of Lyme Disease Awareness Month in May. GLA will use this campaign to bring attention to another debilitating illness that also affects many people with Lyme disease. The study will look at hidden bacteria known as Bartonella, a vector-borne pathogen that many Americans may carry. Bartonella can cause Bartonellosis, an infectious disease that can affect the brain, eyes, heart, and other organs. Bartonellosis can cause depression, anxiety, OCD, and encephalitis (which can result in seizures and coma). 

Like Lyme disease, Bartonellosis is increasing in prevalence and can also go undiagnosed due to lack of awareness. Current antibiotic therapy for complicated Bartonellosis does not always eradicate the disease, and patients continue to suffer. The Bartonella Discovery Program is a project designed to help achieve the following: 

  • To identify how Bartonella species interact with a patient’s immune cells, and how the intracellular, extracellular and biofilm lifestyles of Bartonella influence antibiotic susceptibility
  • To lay the foundation for drug discovery efforts to find antibiotic options that are more effective in killing and clearing these bacteria from patients
  • To use cutting edge tools to look for the bacteria in kids and young adults who suffer from an acute neuropsychological condition called PANS, and in older adults with dementia.

 “The importance of this study cannot be overstated because of the severe neuroinflammation and neuropsychiatric disorders some patients can suffer when infected with Bartonella bacteria,” says GLA’s Chief Scientific Officer Tim Sellati, PhD.  

The U.S.-focused study is multinational and multi-site at premier academic institutions using top Bartonella and biofilm experts. Associate Professor Monica Embers, PhD, a microbiologist and immunologist at the Tulane National Primate Research Center who has studied the persistence of tick-borne infectious diseases despite antibiotic therapy, is The Bartonella Discovery Program Director. When asked about the impact this program could have on patients, Dr. Embers said, “With this project, we aim to use sensitive detection methods to directly find the bacteria in patients who are suffering from clinical disease consistent with Bartonellosis.   This could tremendously impact patients who suffer from chronic disease that has been difficult to diagnose because if we can reliably detect the bacteria, it would offer direct evidence to support the diagnosis.”  Learn more and donate by clicking the link button below.