Stricker NK Panel CD-57
Compiled by Melissa Kaplan
Another test gaining popularity amongst physicians treating Lyme patients is one of the antigen tests, CD-57. For information on the use of the test Lyme patients, please read Long-Term Decrease in CD-57 Lymphocyte Subset in Patients with Chronic Lyme by Stricker, Burrascano and Winger. Your physician can order the Stricker NK Panel CD-57 from Labcorp (who recently purchased IDL, the lab that developed this particular test). If your physician or lab has questions about this test, they can call LabCorp at 510-635-4555. As of this writing, this test was not yet on Labcorp's website.
This test is not meant to replace the IGeneX Western Blot. This series of tests looks at various other immune factors that Dr. Stricker and others are looking at in conjunction with relapsing and remitting chronic neuroborreliosis.
The tests included in the Stricker NK Panel CD-57 are:
Just to ensure that nothing is ever cut-and-dried with Lyme, most patients who are in a Lyme relapse (flare) will have a very low NK cell count, while those who are feeling somewhat better will have normal-high NK counts.
And then there are people like me, who had a zero (that is, 0) NK count in while feeling significantly better (all things being relative) than some friends in severe flare, who had normal-high NK counts.
While many Lyme patients are getting this test, it is not a Lyme--or any sort of TBD--test. It is a look at some aspects of the immune system's ability to fight off infection, and so a general immune deficiency ICD code is generall used on the test request form, such as 279.3 - Unspecified immunity deficiency.
LabCorp In Your Area? That Shouldn't Be A Problem...
For example: Dr. Zzsrtzszo in East Podunk uses Acme Lab for his general labs. All Dr. Zzsrtzszo needs to do is look up those tests in Acme's book, write down the lab's test code numbers--and proper ICD-9 diagnosis code--on Acme's lab test request form.
If Dr. Zzsrtzszo's office has a venipuncturist on staff who usually draws blood from patients needing such testing, the venipuncturist can draw the blood and send it off, along with the usual completed Acme lab test request form, with the afternoon courier. If there is no staff venipuncturist is available, the usual completed Acme Labs test request form is handed to the patient for the patient to take with them to their favorite Acme Lab blood draw center.
The requested blood tests are performed by Acme Labs, and as they always do, the results are sent to Dr. Zzsrtzszo. When the patient next sees Dr. Zzsrtzszo, she or he can get a copy of the test results from Dr. Zzsrtzszo. If the patient wants, the patient can make another copy, obliterate the personally identifying information, and send that altered copy to Dr. Stricker.
Last Important Note:
The tests listed above may or may not be useful to the patient and the ordering physician in looking into other areas of supportive treatment. If one's insurance carrier or Medicare pays, great. If not, the patient has to decide whether having the panel done is going to be interesting or useful enough (for example, in helping to support their claim of being too sick to work; in finding out about or tracking NK cell counts, etc.) to pay for the testing themselves. If money is tight, as it is for most of us, then, since this is not a diagnostic test panel, don't have it done if what you are looking for is a diagnosis or confirmation of a different diagnostic test.
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