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Stem Cell Therapy for Lyme Disease

Louis A. Cona, MD

Dec 5, 2019

Reading time: 5 min 59 sec

Explaining the relationship and possible benefits of stem cell therapy for Lyme Disease.

Can Stem Cells treat Lyme Disease?

Innovative stem cell treatments may potentially be excellent alternative therapies for the treatment of Lyme and Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) symptoms.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells have potent anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects.  This ability to positively alter the immune system as well as reduce inflammation may be able to reduce the severity of symptoms in patients with Lyme Disease. 

When applied systemically through IV deployment, Mesenchymal Stem Cells can travel the body, seeking out inflammation and damaged tissue for repair.

Patients can expect a reduction in inflammation-related symptoms, reduction in pain, regulation of the immune system, and assistance in eliminating the Borrelia bacteria. Additionally, the effects of treatment may last for lengthy periods, potentially even halting the progression of symptoms.


What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme Disease is an infection caused by the bacterium Borrelia Burgdorferi.  It is an illness that is characterized by a robust immune response in the body, causing debilitating symptoms.  

What are the symptoms of Lyme Disease?

These symptoms of Lyme can vary by the stage of the disease and may progressively get worse as the disease advances.  The symptoms of Lyme Disease include:

  • Tender, swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Muscle & joint aches
  • Mental confusion

If left untreated Lyme Disease can lead to more severe symptoms such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Intense headaches
  • Heart disorders
  • EM rashes
  • Facial paralysis


How is Lyme Disease transmitted?

Lyme Disease is transmitted to humans from tick bites. It is transmitted from infected ticks of the genus Ixodes (a genus of hard-bodied ticks that may transmit pathogenic microorganisms including the bacterium Borrelia Burgdorferi).


Signs of Lyme Disease

Early signs of Lyme Disease include:

  • Fever or flu-like symptoms
  • Tender local adenopathy (swollen lymph nodes)
  • Bullseye rash (may appear up to 4 weeks after tick bite)


How to prevent Lyme Disease

Education and awareness is the most valuable form of prevention against Lyme Disease.  Prevention measure may include; 

  • Watching for early signs of a tick bite
  • Personal environment modification (avoiding locations that are known tick habitats)
  • Using proper insect repellent 
  • Inspecting clothing when in wooded areas

Avoidance may be the most effective way to prevent a tick bite.  The highest concentration of ticks are found in damp, wooded areas.  It may be beneficial to avoid these areas, but if one cannot, stick to marked trails and paths.  

“The New York State Department of Health’s public-affairs office recommends doing “a final, full-body tick check at the end of the day, and also check children and pets,” in order to protect against ticks and tick-borne illness.”


Is Lyme Disease contagious?

No, Lyme disease is not contagious; there is no evidence that has shown transmission from person to person.  A person cannot get infected with Lyme Disease by touching, kissing, or engaging in intercourse with another person with Lyme Disease. 


Treatment for Lyme Disease

Once diagnosed, an antibiotic regimen is usually prescribed.  The route of administration, strength of the antibiotic, and duration of therapy are highly dependant on the state of the progression of the disease.  

The earlier the patient receives treatment, the higher the chance of success.  

Hand holding three blue and white pills


John O Meyerhoff, MD, outlines the standard antibiotic regimes for both adults and children below:


“Doxycycline, amoxicillin, cefuroxime axetil, or phenoxymethylpenicillin is recommended for the treatment of adult patients with early localized or early disseminated Lyme disease associated with erythema migrans, in the absence of specific neurologic manifestations or third-degree heart block.” (2)
“Antibiotics recommended for children include amoxicillin, cefuroxime axetil, and phenoxymethylpenicillin; in children, eight years and older, doxycycline may be used. Because of its cost, cefuroxime axetil is reserved for patients unable to take amoxicillin or doxycycline” (2)


Is there a cure for Lyme Disease?

If treated early, yes, Lyme Disease can be cured with the proper antibiotic regimen.  However, if the condition is left untreated, symptoms such as; arthritis, heart, and nervous system issues can occur.  These symptoms can become increasingly difficult to impede and may require an alternative form of therapy.


What is PTLDS?

PTLDS stands for Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome.  This syndrome is characterized by a continuation of the symptoms of Lyme Disease after receiving antibiotics.  These symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Muscle & joint aches
  • Mental confusion


“According to the New England Journal of Medicine, approximately 10 to 20 percent of people who are treated with the recommended antibiotics will have disease symptoms that persist after they complete treatment.”


Stem Cell Therapy for Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome

Mesenchymal Stem Cells may be a viable treatment option for Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS).  

Stem cells have been proven to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Through the use of large cell quantity transplants, the youthful stem cells have a regulatory nature on the body. They can reduce the immuno-effect that the body cannot regulate on its own. 

Specifically, Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) can inhibit the overproduction and use of T-cells in the body. This effect occurs without compromising the body’s natural immune system and leaving the patient vulnerable to disease. 

The effect of the transplant is a return of the body to normal immune function and a drastic reduction in a patient’s inflammation markers. This anti-inflammatory effect can last for years at a time without the need for another transplant. 

What this means for patients with autoimmune and degenerative diseases is a natural solution to their symptoms, a respite from discomfort, and an overall increase in quality of life. 

Additionally, not only will the body better be able to heal damaged tissue with the inflammation reduced, but the stem cells will also assist is more rapid healing within the body. 

Doctors at DVC Stem performing stem cell therapy
Pictured: Doctors at DVC Stem performing stem cell therapy


A patient case study held by Geeta Shroff found:


“Therapy with stem cells might emerge as an effective and safe treatment for patients with both Multiple Sclerosis and Lyme Disease.” 


A 30 year old female found to have Lyme Disease was treated with stem cells.  She was having difficulty walking, spasticity in lower limbs, unable to stand without support, weakness in arms, and joint pains. 

 


“Following the first treatment phase, the patient reported remarkable improvement in her lower limb strength, decreased spasticity, and had no longer fatigue issues. Also, she was able to walk upright now with support. After her second visit, improvement in muscle strength, movement of the left upper arm, spasticity of left lower, and left upper limb was observed. The patient was able to walk independently for up to 40–50 minutes around the room. An improvement was observed in parameters like muscle weakness, walking distance, balance, fatigue, pain, blurring of eyes, and deformity.” (4)

Stem cell therapy may be able to help improve PTLDS symptoms over a significant period of time.  Patients may experience an improvement in balance, energy levels, strength, coordination, and motivation. Stem cell therapy may also potentially be an effective Chronic Lyme Disease treatment.  


Protocol for Lyme Disease at DVC Stem

DVC Stem uses cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells ethically sourced from AATB certified, US-donated, full-term human umbilical cords. We administer over 300 million cells that are all thoroughly tested for viability before treatment. These cells are NOT a blood product; therefore, it is extremely safe and does not require HLA or phenotypic matching.

All patients undergo therapy in our VIP treatment room located within our advanced clinic. Patients are under constant supervision from both our medical director and the supporting medical team.

We typically recommend patients stay a minimum of 4 days in Grand Cayman for treatment.

VIP Treatment room at DVC Stem
Pictured: VIP Treatment room at DVC Stem


Treatment at DVC Stem spans the course of 2 days.


Day 1: Arrival in Grand Cayman.

Day 2: Physical assessments & supporting therapies.

Day 3:  Cell transplant & activation therapies.

Day 4: Follow-up physical & departure.

Our cell therapy protocol is safe & non-invasive. Patients will be able to travel the following day.


DVC Stem is partnered with Vitro Biopharma, an award-winning medical laboratory located in Golden, Colorado, which is fully FDA registered, cGMP compliant, ISO 9001, and ISO 13485 certified. Cells are only sourced from the American Association of Tissue Bank (AATB) certified suppliers of full-term, ethically US donated human umbilical cords. The selection of these donated tissues is extremely regulated and strict per AATB standards.


Find out if you are a candidate for treatment here.


References:


1) Department of Health. “Proper Precautions Can Help Prevent Lyme Disease and the Spread of Tick-Borne Illnesses.” DOH, DEC and State Parks Remind New Yorkers to Protect Against Ticks, Department of Health, Apr. 2019, www.health.ny.gov/press/releases/2019/2019-05-24_lyme_and_ticks.htm.

2) Meyerhoff, John D, and Herbert S Diamond. “Lyme Disease Treatment & Management: Approach Considerations, Treatment of Early Lyme Disease, Lyme Arthritis.” Lyme Disease Treatment & Management: Approach Considerations, Treatment of Early Lyme Disease, Lyme Arthritis, 12 Nov. 2019, emedicine.medscape.com/article/330178-treatment#d7.

3) Melia, Michael T., and A. Berende. “Time for a Different Approach to Lyme Disease and Long-Term Symptoms: NEJM.” New England Journal of Medicine, 31 Mar. 2016, www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMe1502350.

4) Shroff, Geeta. “Transplantation of Human Embryonic Stem Cells in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis and Lyme Disease.” The American Journal of Case Reports, International Scientific Literature, Inc., 13 Dec. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5156555/.

3 DAYS POST TREATMENT

Tyler explains his experience at DVC Stem in the Cayman Islands.

Tyler is optimistic that he will see positive results post treatment.

"The cool thing about the Cayman Islands besides being beautiful, it was an opportunity to get some rest and relaxation allowing my body to heal and restore. I'm back in the US now and feel like I am ready to conquer the world."

- Tyler Heid

2 WEEKS POST TREATMENT

2 weeks post treatment, MS patient Tyler is beginning to see amazing progress. He has been wheelchair bound for the last year and has not been able to move his legs unassisted before now.

Tyler Heid, lifting his foot 12" off the ground with 2 lb weights on his ankles.

Tyler - 2 weeks post treatment

"I'm on a path of progression and I'm getting better and better each day."

Tyler Heid - 2 months post treatment

2 MONTHS POST TREATMENT

Tyler updates about his progress, explaining the amazing response he has been receiving from his friends and family.

"People coming up to me saying I am moving, talking and smiling so much better. They are noticing a lot of things that have improved over the course of 3 months."

"This morning I was able to do things that I was unable to do before, I was able to stand up and lift my leg higher than I ever have before."

5 MONTHS POST TREATMENT

5 months post treatment Tyler sends us an update on his progress.

"I'm able to smile better, I have more control over the left side of my face."

"I have an increased ability to grip, lift my legs higher and higher which has gone well."

Tyler is optimistic and on the right track to recovery. We are ecstatic to see his progress and look forward to more updates from him.

"I have an increased ability to grip, lift my legs higher and higher which has gone well."

Tyler Heid - 5 months post treatment

"This is exciting stuff, god bless"

Matthew Murry - MS Patient

2 WEEKS POST TREATMENT

Matthew experiences sensation in the bottom of his feet after receiving a simple nerve test.

His left foot did not experience any sensation or move at all, but what happened to his right foot is extremely exciting!

David Lyons

Multiple Sclerosis

Although David Lyons was able to successfully fight Multiple Sclerosis through a strict regimen of diet and exercise, he wanted to ensure he was doing everything he could to stay fit. Multiple Sclerosis can be managed with treatment, but there is currently no cure for the disease. For that reason, David came to DVC Stem years ago to use the regenerative and anti-inflammatory attributes of stem cells to aid in his fight for fitness.

The positive results he experienced enabled David to stay strong in the gym, now into his 60s, and that is why he continues to support our clinic to this day.

About the author

LOUIS A. CONA, MD

Dr. Cona has been performing stem cell therapy for over 10 years. He is a member of the World Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (WAAAM). He is also a recognized member of the British Medical Association, the General Medical Council (UK), the Caribbean College of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. He is the Medical Director for DVC Stem a world-renowned stem cell therapy clinic located in Grand Cayman.

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