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counter culture labscomrade


Interested in the eukaryote Blastocystis Hominis, and evaluating means to defeat its ability to evade the human immune system within the gut.

In December 2006 I had an abrupt onset of what was much later diagnosed as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), following what appeared to be an initial bout of rotavirus (jointly with my girlfriend, though she recovered after a month). Years later the only abnormal finding in various tests was the presence of blastocystis. This continues to be the case. Causes of IBD are not definitively understood by gastroenterology, and frequent asymptomatic presence of blastocystis in some patients leads many or most to dismiss it as a possible IBD cause.

As a side note, my suspicion is that I already harbored blastocystis prior to December 2006, and my immune system was sensitized to it after it was co-located with another aggressive pathogen (i.e., rotavirus). This is analogous to the mechanism by which Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) conjugate vaccines work, or treatment of pediatric molloscum contagiosum by injections at infection sites of small quantities of a candida albicans suspension to induce an immune response.

I've spent a significant amount of time since 2010 as an amateur reviewing literature on blastocystis, and have a good understanding of many of the characteristics of this parasite. I have a lot to share about this area.

In 2017 I was able to work with a commercial next generation sequencing (NGS) lab to successfully perform DNA sequencing on stool samples to repeat genetic subtype testing approaches used by other dedicated researchers. The results, when put into NCBI Blast, identifying my parasite as subtype 7. This DNA sequencing process with a commercial lab is another area I can share about.

Literature to 2017 indicated that subtype 7 (at least) has a protease enzyme that cleaves the middle cysteine bond of the immunoglobulin A (IgA) molecule found in the gut, disabling it, so that the IgA is ineffective at attaching to blastocystis cells. I'd like to explore how to defeat this mechanism in vitro, or in vivo.

Additionally, literature and my own experience shows that blastocystis is largely resistant to most conventional antibiotics. Mixes of multiple conventional antibiotics as proposed by Australian researchers was not effective in my case. Some possible effective antibiotics not typically used in this age include arsenic-based versions used commonly in history, such as Stovarsol and Narsenol. I've spoken briefly with a tropical disease doctor who thought a managed treatment of this category of medication may be effective, but I'd like to explore this in the lab.

I am not at all familiar with how to culture cells in a petri dish to perform experiments, but would like to learn how to do this. Blastocystis is not as easy to culture as some other cell types, but there are methods to make it work. I have a literature trail to follow on that process.

The only prolific blastocystis researchers I've found are overseas. I haven't seen evidence of prominent US government interest in funding research on this topic, or significant numbers of corresponding US research papers. I'm not a microbiologist, but an electrical engineer in Colorado, with young children, and haven't advanced my own research goals on the above since 2018. I'd like to collaborate with others in advancing some experimental cures for this parasite.