A HS summer intern develops a new test for Lyme...and sticks with it through years of development and testing.
It works this way: tiny nanoparticles developed by the George Mason scientists trap and measure markers for the disease found in very low concentrations in body fluids. The nanoparticles find the tiniest traces missed by most diagnostic tests.
Liotta said that in the case of Lyme disease, “the overall goal is to measure pieces of the Lyme bacteria that are shed into the urine.”
Right now, samples are sent for analysis to Ceres Nanoscience, a private company based in Reston, Virginia, that is partnering with the GMU scientists.
The National Institutes of Health funded most of the research that led to the now-patented nanotechnology, and the state of Virginia is helping to pay for the development of a commercially available version of the Lyme test that can be performed right in a doctor’s office or at home, much like the pregnancy tests currently on the market.
Luchini says it is as simple as mixing a solution with a body fluid sample. And she emphasizes that Lyme is only the beginning.
“This concept is applicable to any disease as long as we identify the causative agent,” Luchini said.