Stem Cell Therapy for Lyme Disease

What Causes Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a tick-borne infection caused by a group of bacteria called Borrelia. It is the most reported vector-borne disease in the United States, with cases mainly in the northeast and upper midwest 1

The disease can transmit between humans and animals through the bite of an infected black-legged tick 1. If left untreated, Lyme may lead to debilitating symptoms. Lyme disease typically manifests in three stages 2.

Stage 1: Early localized Lyme: 1 - 2 weeks following a tick bite

The most common symptom of early localized Lyme is “erythema migrans”, a characteristic bullseye rash that expands slowly with a central clearing around the initial bite. The rash is not usually painful, but it may be itchy. This bullseye rash is often the only symptom. However, flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, fatigue, and joint pain, are also common 2.

Stage 2: Early disseminated Lyme: 3 - 10 weeks following the initial bite

The most common symptoms during this stage of infection include migrating joint pains, which can involve different joints at different times 2 Neurological symptoms are also typical of this stage, and can include:
  • Paralysis in areas of the face, leading to the face drooping on one side
  • Nerve pains
  • Burning or tingling sensations in arms and legs
  • Nerve damage
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
Additional rashes are also not uncommon. These could be more of the bulls-eye type or uniformly red or patchy rashes throughout the body 2 When left untreated, complications can arise as the bacteria can attack the heart and nervous systems. These can include 2:
  • Inflammation of the heart (carditis), leading to heart palpitations and irregular heartbeat
  • Inflammation of the fluid and membrane around the brain or spinal cord (meningitis) causing severe headaches and neck stiffness

Stage 3: Late Lyme disease

Late Lyme disease occurs months to years following the original infection. Commonly, people experience Lyme arthritis, which involves joint inflammation, pain, and destruction. This can be persistent or intermittent and affect one or many joints 3. Neurological symptoms may become worse, with individuals reporting:
  • Cognitive impairment, such as difficulty with memory or doing tasks
  • Gait abnormalities, such as difficulty with walking
  • Bladder dysfunction
  • Brain inflammation
  • Peripheral neuropathies, leading to numbness, tingling sensations, or pain in the limbs
  • Mood disorders including depression and anxiety
None of these symptoms is unique to Lyme, so Lyme is often missed or misdiagnosed for many reasons. First, not all cases of Lyme start with the trademark bulls-eye rash. Second, Lyme disease can present with a wide array of obscure symptoms 3 If you are in an area with many Lyme cases and you know you’ve been bitten by a tick, your doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics to prevent a Lyme infection. The later the stage of Lyme is, the harder it is to diagnose and treat.

Chronic Lyme, post-Lyme syndrome, or post-treatment Lyme disease (PTLDS) syndrome

Chronic Lyme or post-Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS) can occur in 5-20% of patients after appropriate antibiotic treatment 4. Researchers have yet to identify a single factor that can predispose someone to this, but the mechanisms may include:
  • Persistent infection
  • Persistent immune system activation
  • Damage to certain areas of the body from prior infection
  • Changes in brain chemistry that can alter cognitive, pain, or mood pathways
Common symptoms of PTLDS are:
  • Debilitating fatigue
  • Changes in cognition (difficulties with thinking clearly, or “brain fog”)
  • Pain
  • Mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety 
In chronic Lyme, these symptoms don’t go away even after months or years of antibiotic treatments. So, they can have a big impact on the quality of life and the ability to function at work and at home.

Stem Cell Therapy for Lyme Disease FAQ

The Scientific Rationale Behind Stem Cell Therapy for Lyme Disease

While antibiotics are highly effective during the initial infection, they become less useful during later stages. Currently, there is no standard treatment for Lyme disease once it has progressed beyond the initial stages or for those with lingering symptoms following the completion of treatment 5 Healthcare providers may not associate these long-term symptoms with Lyme disease, especially if someone does not remember being bitten by a tick. This can cause delays in both diagnosis and treatment.  Currently, there is no widespread consensus in the medical community on how to approach such cases, causing potentially long-term suffering and impacts on daily life.  This is where stem cell therapy may be uniquely helpful.

How Much Does Stem Cell Therapy Cost for Lyme Disease?

The cost depends on the specific treatment you will be undergoing and how many treatment sessions you need. Book a consultation with us today to get your personalized stem cell therapy treatment plan.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

Typically, you will need 1 – 2 treatments, depending on the plan of care established between you and your doctor. All treatment appointments are in person, but the initial consultation and follow-up can be done by phone.  

Some people do come back for additional treatments over the course of months or years. This largely depends on the stage of your disease, how well you respond to the treatment, and what your treatment goals are.

Your Patient Journey with Stem Cell Therapy for Stroke

Step 1: Application and initial consultation

Our questionnaire and initial consultation help us determine whether you’re a good candidate for stem cell therapy, along with the best treatment plans for you. Our patient advocate will walk you through the process, pricing, and payment plans.

Step 2: Physical exam

You’ll come in for a physical exam in preparation for the treatment and also to assess your current symptoms and health status.

Step 3: Stem cell collection

Your procedure will begin where we harvest cells from your bone marrow or fat tissues. We will then isolate the stem cells from these tissues in the clinic before administering your first treatment

Step 4: Stem cell culture

If applicable, we will send your stem cells to the lab to expand them in numbers. 

Step 5: Future treatments

Your future stem cell treatments will be done using your cultured stem cells. 

Step 6: Follow-up appointments

Our team will keep in contact with you to monitor your treatment progress and support you through your recovery.

Advantages of Stem Cell Therapy vs Standard Treatments and Other Alternative Treatments for Lyme Disease


Regenerates new neurons, joint tissues, and immune cells instead of merely treating the symptoms.

Minimal Side Effects

Peace of mind knowing you won’t experience the downsides of traditional treatment approaches.

Deeper Approach

Treats a fundamental underlying mechanism of the disease.

Results May Last Years

By combatting neuron loss and balancing inflammation, benefits may last months to years.

No Daily Pill To Take

Nothing to do after your in-office treatment except let your body do its job.

Harnesses Your Own Healing Power

Use the power of your own stem cells and biology to do the healing.

Current Standard-of-Care Treatments for Lyme Disease and Their Shortfalls

Treatment guidelines for Lyme disease vary depending on initial presentation. Acute cases are typically treated with antibiotics, while persistent cases are treated by managing symptoms. For those with chronic Lyme disease symptoms, there are no established standard-of-care guidelines, leaving many patients to turn to alternative options.


Antibiotics are standard care for those seeking care shortly after a tick bite and who have a bull’s eye rash. In such cases, the treatment response is good, and many recover rapidly following 1-2 weeks of treatment. As a preventive treatment, the most prescribed agent during this stage is doxycycline 100 mg twice per day. Alternatives include amoxicillin 500 mg three times per day or cefuroxime 500 mg twice per day.

Doxycycline is the most common antibiotic used for Lyme, and it has many potential side effects. 

Mild side effects of antibiotics can include 25:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Vomiting (throwing up)
  • Skin sensitivity to sunlight, which can increase the risk for burns
  • Antibiotic-associated diarrhea

More severe side effects include 25:

  • Bruising or bleeding you can’t explain (this can include nosebleeds), sore throats, fever, and a tired feeling. These all can be signs of blood problems.
  • Diarrhea with blood or mucus in it
  • Ringing or buzzing in ears
  • Liver problems: pale stool and urine, yellowing of the eyes, yellowing of skin
  • Joint or muscle pains
  • Severe headaches and problems with vision, which could be a sign of too much pressure in the brain
  • Severe stomach pains

Antibiotic use, especially for a long time, can affect the gut flora and overall long-term health
26. It allows for Clostridium difficile infections, which can severely inflame the gut, causing severe diarrhea and potentially life-threatening sepsis 27. More importantly, antibiotics can cause bacteria in your body to become antibiotic-resistant, making any future infections or surgeries much riskier.

Neurological Lyme disease 5

For those who have neurological symptoms of Lyme disease, such as pain in the face or limbs, or other neurological symptoms, antibiotics remain the standard of care. Treatment varies depending on the presenting neurological symptom.
  • Facial nerve palsy: doxycycline 100 mg twice per day for 14-21 days
  • Lyme meningitis (inflammation in the membranes that cover your brain and spinal cord) or inflammation of spinal nerves: doxycycline 100 mg twice per day for 14-21 days or ceftriaxone 2 g intravenously once per day for 14-21 days 
These antibiotic treatments are aimed at killing the Lyme bacteria. Doxycycline may also help balance the inflammation 28. However, these medications don’t help repair the damage or address weakened immune functions caused by Lyme.

Lyme carditis (heart inflammation) 5

Heart symptoms can be treated with oral or IV antibiotics depending on the severity of the infection, with most patients recovering within 1-6 weeks. Typical interventions include doxycycline 100 mg twice per day for 14-21 days or ceftriaxone 2 g intravenously once per day for 14-21 days.

Lyme arthritis (joint inflammation and damage) 5

An initial episode of Lyme arthritis is typically treated with a four-week course of oral antibiotics, with some individuals requiring an additional course. If symptoms persist after the second round of treatment, guidelines advise there is generally no additional benefit to continued prescribing. The most prescribed agent during this stage is doxycycline 100 mg twice per day. Alternatives include amoxicillin 500 mg three times per day or cefuroxime 500 mg twice per day.

Post-treatment Lyme disease & chronic Lyme disease 5,24

While most cases of Lyme disease resolve following standard antibiotic treatment, some individuals continue to have debilitating symptoms. The pain, fatigue, or difficulty concentrating can persist months after treatment completion. 

While the literature reports about 90% of cases can be cured with antibiotics, some doctors may observe lower success rates with antibiotics alone. This could be due to major differences in the diagnostic criteria or what they consider to be chronic Lyme disease. 

There are no current guidelines on the management of such cases and extended antibiotic therapy has not demonstrated benefit and may increase the risk for other complications. Some guidelines suggest screening for the presence of underlying disorders that may be treatable. Unfortunately, many individuals struggle with symptoms despite antibiotic treatment, impacting their quality of life and daily functioning. They may also suffer from side effects and long-term negative health effects of the antibiotic treatments. 

Antibiotics don’t address many underlying aspects of chronic Lyme, nor does it support the repair of damaged tissues. Therefore, regenerative treatments like stem cell therapy can be uniquely beneficial for Lyme patients.

Meet The Doctors

Bringing years of experience in the emerging and innovative field of interventional and regenerative orthopedics to the Nashville, Tennessee area.

Dr. Ethan Kellum, M.D.

Dr. Hemal V. Mehta, M.D.

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