The Silent Role of Biofilms in Chronic Disease › Forums › Biofilm Community › Expert Interviews › Dr. Wilmore Webley, Microbiologist (Video & Excerpt Available)
Tagged: biofilm, chlamydia pneumonia, chlamydia trachomatis, chlamydial infection, chronic infections, cpn, dr. wilmore webley, reactive arthritis
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In September of 2009, I visited the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. It was fun to visit the college where I graduated from so many years ago. Once again, ironically, I was on a mission of learning this time from a professor who possesses encyclopedic knowledge of bacterial diseases. In the interview, he differentiates between acute and chronic manifestations. Our on-camera interview covered a lot of ground, ranging from sub-clinical Chlamydial infections (not only the STD type, e.g. Chlamydia pneumoniae) to Lyme disease and especially biofilm communities. A ten-minute edited clip is here.
This short clip distills some of the most interesting insights from the 65 minute interview; though the whole interview was fascinating. The complete interview is available from the foundation for a nominal charge (to cover duplication, shipping & handling).
Dr. Webleys research has focused on two parallel themes: understanding Chlamydial interaction with the infected host in an attempt to better characterize the diseases that this family of bacteria cause and design and development of interventional and therapeutic strategies to prevent or treat Chlamydial infections and associated sequelae.
Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the United States and many other parts of the developed and developing world. This family of bacteria is also the most common cause of preventable blindness worldwide, causing devastating conjunctivitis in endemic areas (mostly Africa and Asia). While it is true that there are antibiotics that are relatively effective at treating Chlamydial infections, over 80% of these infections are asymptomatic and those affected do not realize they have been infected until severe pathologies are manifested.
Podcast: Dr. Elizabeth Stuart and Dr. Wilmore Webley
Microbiologists Uncover New Disease Connection and Potential Treatment: In this edition of TechCast at UMass, a startling connection between a common microbe and major diseases like pediatric asthma (9 million cases in the U.S.) arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Also discussed is detail is Chlamydia pneumoniae, now thought to be responsible for at least several chronic conditions.
An excerpt from our interesting interview (some of which is on the video clip, other parts are not):
Chronic diseases used to be these black holes where doctors used to treat the patient just to keep him comfortable. It has become clear that even some chronic diseases that we didnt think were linked to infectious pathogens now has a infectious pathogen component to them. Chronicity seems to be very different from what we see with acute infections, and we will probably touch on this later, but it seems that the type of bacteria that cause chronic infections are a genetically different type of bacteria from what we see in our acute infections.
One of the other things that were seeing with chronic diseases is that theyre mostly caused by polymicrobial agents. In other words, its not just one bacterium that is causing these chronic infections. You could have 2 or 3 or 10 bacterial organisms or probably viruses and fungi that are involved in chronic diseases.
And so essentially what youre looking at is an individual has an infectious organism in their blood or in their body and their tissues in any part and, over time, theyre not able to clear it. It clearly means this pathogen has found a way to evade the immune system, and thats really what chronicity is: that, over time, whatever the infectious agent is, it has been able to outsmart the immune system, outdo the immune system in some way so that, over time, one develops a set of infectious bacteria that live in certain areas, organs, tissues of the body.
The body now either sees as self or resolves not to, to take them out, and so, over time, what happens is that our immune systems dont get any better with age, or with time, and as our immune systems deteriorate, these pathogens take over more and more of the real estate that they have co-opted, and when that happens, the pathology that is associated with chronic diseases shows itself.
Now, one of the challenges at this point in time is which bacteria or which group of bacteria do you target as the cause of this chronic infection, and that is why chronic infections are so difficult to treat. This is one of the reasons why they are so complicated for many clinicians; because it is very difficult to find out what the true etiology of these infections are, and, at the same time, maybe these patients have developed several other complications over time, maybe totally unrelated to the bacteria that were present, but compounded, these conditions lead to debilitations that these patients find, find it very hard to overcome
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