They Should Call it the Douglas Diagnostic!

Can the Protein in Your Urine Detect Lyme Disease?

Living with Lyme is tough, but diagnosing Lyme disease is one of the biggest challenges for doctors. Peeing in a cup to assist in diagnosing Lyme is now an option for patients who have found ticks on them.

We found WDBJ7’s recent article about a Virginia Tech student’s research (project) making Lyme Disease diagnosis easier and simply had to share it given May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month!

They Should Call it the Douglas Diagnostic!

Princeton University graduate and current Virginia Tech PhD candidate (biomedical engineering) Temple Douglas grew up on a farm on Northern Virginia — and checking herself for ticks! She and her family are all but too familiar with Lyme disease and the inaccuracies of serological tests, which are primarily used by doctors on the journey to diagnosis for many patients.

Serologic tests are blood tests that look for antibodies in your blood, involve a number of laboratory techniques, and can diagnose various disease conditions. Serologic tests focus on proteins made by your immune system and are therefore a go-to for doctors with a hunch that a patient may have an autoimmune disease. Antibodies vary greatly, so there are 3 types of serological tests:

  • An agglutination assay
  • A precipitation test
  • The Western blot test (most used when Lyme is on the table because it identifies the presence of antimicrobial antibodies.)

Absolutely genius!

Temple Douglas spent most of her time in the research labs at VA tech working on this new diagnostic test to concentrate Lyme disease protein fragments in the urine.

Temple told WDBJ7 that she came up with the whole idea while she was in high school. She had an internship at George Mason University where she learned about nanotechnology and how researchers were studying ways to use nanotech for early stage cancer detection.

With Temple’s tie to Lyme disease, she thought instead of cancer, nanotechnology could be used to test for Lyme in people who know that they have been bitten by ticks, and may not have seen the tell-tale bulls eye mark when it happened. Nanoparticals could possibly concentrate protein fragments in urine for a true diagnostic test.

Temple’s Research Gets 5 Patient Worthy Stars!

Any type of diagnostic tests that can elicit less false negatives are awesome. Advancement in medicine is what we root for and Temple’s drive to help people is at the center of new successes in rare disease research.

Our in-house Lymie says, this type of urine test is excellent for acute Lyme infections but not necessarily for long-term infections. Either way, it is another option for patients to request administration of from the get-go. Knowledge is power! 


Amazing advancements – keep laser focused to detect and defeat the rare disease bully earlier!

Many patients these days are opting for urine or salivary tests instead of blood tests. Blood testing is often impractical, costly, and difficult.  

Read more about the rising popularity of diagnostic tests that don’t require blood, but other bodily fluids here: So I Don’t Have To Pee in a Cup?!

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