Cancer Researcher Who Nearly Died of Lyme Discusses the Similarities Between the Two Diseases
Neil Spector, MD, author of Gone in a Heartbeat: A Physician's Search for True Healing will speak at the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) annual conference.
FT. LAUDERDALE, FL., October 15, 2015-- Neil Spector, MD knows cancer. As a leading researcher, he led the development of two targeted cancer therapies which were FDA approved. He is currently the Sandra Coates Chair in Breast Cancer Research at Duke University. But in 2009, Dr. Spector faced his own mortality when a physician informed him he would die without a heart transplant. Dr. Spector's heart had been destroyed by an undiagnosed case of Lyme disease.
Dr. Spector will discuss his experiences as an oncologist and Lyme disease survivor on Friday, October 16, 2015 at the ILADS conference being held at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort in Fr. Lauderdale, Florida. His presentation is titled: How Lessons from Personalized Cancer Care Can Inform Management of Lyme Disease.
Dr. Spector calls Lyme disease “the infectious disease equivalent of cancer.” Cancer is not one specific disease and neither is Lyme, says Spector. “We talk about Lyme Disease as if it is ONE disease caused by one uniform strain of Borrelia when we know there are at least 16 pathogenic strains of the bacteria that cause disease in the United States.”
Spector notes both cancer cells and Borrelia burdoferi (the spirochete which causes Lyme disease) are equipped with mechanisms to resist therapeutic interventions. Both pathogens have a “sweet tooth,” says Spector, since each relies on glucose as a source of energy. Yet, while cancer specialists design personalized treatment plans for cancer patients, Lyme disease treatments are generally still one-size-fits-all.
“We have all witnessed via the media the struggles of Yolanda Foster and Avril Lavigne,” says Spector. They publically put a face on the private suffering of many Lyme patients, and this suffering is a direct result of a lack of understanding about Lyme and its co-infections,” he says.
In a talk before the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), Spector called for more “out-of-the-box thinking” on how to diagnose and treat Lyme disease and its co-infections.
“I am not taking sides in this debate,” says Spector. “As a patient and physician-scientist involved in cancer research and drug development, I have a unique perspective on the way Lyme disease is currently diagnosed and treated, and the gaps in our understanding of the disease beg for more research funding.”
To clarify the slide the "green" personalized approach to treatment is where the treatment of Lyme Disease NEEDS to be but currently IS NOT. Instead, Lyme Disease is treated empirically (red), which is less scientifically based.
More research and research dollars are desperately needed to change this current state!!"