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Over 55,000 customers over the years, chronic and severe cases – with a reported success rate over 90%. The only things needed are our Monolaurin (which actually kills it) and trademarked Bio-Fibrin (essential to dissolve Lyme biofilms and cysts so the Monolaurin can do it’s job)!
The CD57 Test
You were tested for Lyme disease??? Yea … Right. Everyone from patients to doctors are frustrated regarding the diagnosing of chronic Lyme disease. Health care providers in many states, unfortunately, consider the Lyme disease rare and non-endemic. They are inclined to rule out Lyme disease based on the negative result of a laboratory test that, unknown to them, is highly insensitive.
Because they don’t have a reliable laboratory test or enough experience in the recognizing the varied and complex presentations of the illness, many professionals don’t have the tools to adequately diagnose chronic Lyme disease. Many patients suffer needlessly for years, hopelessly lost in the maze of the health care system, looking for answers. They have to endure the skeptical looks from practitioners not experienced with Lyme’s signs and symptoms.
What is needed is a better Lyme disease test to persuade the practitioner to consider the diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease. Now our ability to measure CD-57 counts represents a breakthrough in Chronic Lyme Disease treatment. It can be used to help determine how active the infection is, how well the treatment is working, and whether, after treatment ends, a relapse is likely to occur.
Enter the CD57 test!
You may have heard the term “CD57” tossed around in chat groups. Your Lyme-literate health care provider might have even explained the test to you while you were in a brain-fogged stupor. What is this number that sounds more like a Heinz steak sauce? What in the world does it have to do with Lyme disease?
How the CD57+ Test Works
Chronic Lyme infections are known to suppress the immune system. The Lyme spirochete can affect all major cell types of the immune system, but it most clearly can impact a specific subset of the natural killer cells. This is called the CD-57 subset.
Just as in HIV infection, which suppresses T-cell counts, Lyme disease suppresses Natural killer cell count. As in HIV infection, where abnormally low T-cell counts are used as a marker of how active the infection is, we can use the CD-57 count to indicate how active the Lyme infection is. When Lyme is active, the CD-57 count is suppressed.
Let’s take a closer look. As you may remember that white blood cells (leukocytes) help the body fight infections and other diseases. There is a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes. They have B-cells, T-cells and natural killer (NK) cells that attack antigens (foreign proteins) in different ways.
- B-cells make antibodies that are stimulated by infection or vaccination.
- T-cells and NK cells are the cellular aggressors in the immune system. They are what we will focus on.
First, let’s look at CD markers (cluster designation). Cells have thousands identifying markers (CDs) on their surfaces and 200 or so have been recognized and named so far.
Each different marker (CD) on a cell is named with a number which links cells by their similarities (like grouping people with blue eyes together). The NK cells (mentioned above) usually use CD56 (often with a + symbol after it). The lower the CD56+ level, the weaker the immune system is. (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients talk about their CD56+ counts.)
A smaller number of NK cells are called CD57(+)
A below-normal count has been associated with chronic Lyme disease by the work of Dr. Raphael Stricker and Dr. Edward Winger.(1-2) No one knows for sure why CD57+ NK cells are low in Lyme disease patients, but it is important to note that many disease states that are often confused with chronic Lyme (MS, systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis) are not associated with low CD57+ NK counts!
The good news is that for most Lyme patients the CD57+ NK level increases as treatment progresses and health is regained.
CD57 markers can also be given to other kinds of cells, including T-cells. This makes it important to distinguish between CD57+ T-cells and CD57+ NK cells. You would think it wouldn’t happen but many testing laboratories claiming to perform the CD57 test are actuallylooking at CD57+ T-cells – rather than CD57+ NK cells! It is the CD57+ NK cells that relate to chronic Lyme disease!
The standard normal range for the absolute CD57 NK count is 60 to 360 cells per microliter of blood. This wide range was established based upon test results of hundreds of healthy patients. By these laboratory standards, a test result below 60 cells per microliter would be considered below normal and therefore associated with chronic Lyme disease. However, a recent study suggests that 100 cells per microliter might be a more reliable threshold separating Lyme patients and healthy controls.(3)
Then, Dr. Stricker and Dr. Winger discovered that CD57+ NK cells in chronic Lyme patients tend to increase as the patient improve. Though the accuracy of the test decreased as the patient improves, it can help follow the treatment progress. Just as AIDS patients followed their CD4 T-cell count improvements, Lyme patients now have something to help them follow the status of their illness.(4)
It is important to remember that the CD57 test results are just an indicator. The improvement of the patient’s clinical status (ie: “treat the patient, not the tests!”) is more important. We don’t know what other factors may lower or raise the CD57 test. However, it is still the best we have seen in the initial diagnose and the first stages of treating chronic Lyme disease.
In the measure of immune status, it helps provide an indication of bacterial load and severity of illness. Furthermore, in a Lyme sufferer may have other negative or indeterminate Lyme tests.(5) However, the symptoms make it highly suspect for having Lyme disease. In these cases, the health care provider may utilize the CD57+ NK count as, perhaps, a more reliable piece in the confirmation of a Lyme disease diagnosis.
How to Get a CD57+ Test
There are a couple of reliable labs your healthcare professional can send blood samples to. LabCorp was the source of the original published research on this test and it was based on their methodology. At last check, the test was less than $200. CPL is another lab that does well with the CD57+ test. (Quest Labs is doubtful.)
If you would like your health care provider to order the CD57 NK test for you, your blood sample needs to be drawn into an EDTA tube (lavender top) on Monday through Thursday. It must be sent immediately to either LabCorp or CPL because the test is time-sensitive. Tests must be performed within 12 hours of collection (so blood should not be drawn on a Friday or the results may be inaccurate).
The proper test codes to request are:
LabCorp: #505026, named: HNK1 (CD57) Panel.
CPL: #4886, named: CD57 for Lyme disease.
(Optional codes are: CPT codes 86357, 86356).
The tests can be run for initial diagnosing (if active over 1 year). It isn’t necessary in our protocol but, if the budget (and curiosity) can handle it, it can be done again at 3 months and 6 months. The condition of the patient is more important but this can be helpful in indicating the progress of treatment (ie: a stable number or a rising trend). After the ‘active form’ of the Lyme disease has been dealt with, our “Maintenance” program doesn’t require testing (and it is less accurate anyway).
Test interpretation: low CD57+ occurs in chronic Lyme or when the disease has been active for over 1 year (only Lyme spirochetes lowers the CD57+ count). The count reflects the degree of infection. The test includes:
- Absolute and % CD 8; Absolute and,
- % CD 57; CBC with differential and platelet count.
The Test interpretation Criteria established by research is:
- > 200 is normal
- < 20 severe illness
- < 80 is seen in chronic Lyme disease
- > 60 Lyme activity indicates improvement
1. Raphael B. Stricker, Joseph J. Burrascano, Edward E. Winger, Longterm decrease in the cd57 lymphocyte subset in a patient with Chronic lyme disease. Immunology Letters, Volume 76, Issue 1, February 1, 2001, Pg: 43–48. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165247800003163.
2. Stricker, R. B., and E. E. Winger. Decreased CD57 lymphocyte subset in patients with chronic Lyme disease. Immunol. Lett. 76:43-48. 2001.
3. Virginia R Savely and Raphael B Stricker. Morgellons disease: Analysis of a population with clinically confirmed microscopic subcutaneous fibers of unknown etiology. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. May 13, 2010; pg: 67–78.
4. Lima, M. The “ex vivo” patterns of CD2/CD7, CD57/CD11c, CD38/CD11b, CD45RA/CD45RO, and CD11a/HLA-DR expression identify acute/early and chronic/late NK-cell activation states.Blood Cells Mol. Dis. 28:181-190, 2002.
5. Chattopadhyay, P. K. The cytolytic enzymes granzyme A, granzyme B, and perforin: expression patterns, cell distribution, and their relationship to cell maturity and bright CD57 expression. J. Leukoc. Biol. 85:88-97.