Treatment options that disrupt a 100-billion-dollar industry are going to upset the apple cart for those betting against patients.
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Dear Dr. Tracey,
I wanted to take an opportunity to thank you for saving my life.
When I was 13, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and Seronegative Enteropathic Arthritis.
Over the course of the last 15 years, I’ve taken every immune-suppressing medication available. None of them worked for me — after several weeks, my body developed antibodies that prevented each from working. If you can name a medication used for Crohn’s or inflammatory arthritis, I promise you I have taken it, and I have failed it. I’ve been on Prednisone on and off for the entire time that I have had this, which has resulted in Osteoporosis. At 28, I have the bone density of someone three times my age. I’ve researched holistic health, herbs, meditation, and nutrition to heal naturally. Despite these efforts, my body remains a powerful entity at war with me. Sometimes I liken it to being a battle between my mind and my body, and my mind is showing up to the battle with bows and arrows, and my body is showing up with a nuclear weapon.
In 2014, I found you. I saw your interview on Huffington Post Live, and I tracked your email down immediately and reached out to you — and you were as gracious as could be, and gave me a wealth of information and empathy, and told me to keep tracking the research for when the trials got to Crohn’s disease.
In the beginning of this year, my doctors finally ran out of options for me and told me that my life would be lived completely dependent on Prednisone. With a sedimentation rate of 85 and tears streaming down my face and legs so swollen I couldn’t walk, I remembered you, and I went to clinicaltrials.gov to see if VNS trials had started for Crohn’s — to my surprise and excitement, the trial was underway. I reached out to everyone involved and begged to be involved, and they accepted me. I knew this was the answer from the time I found you in 2014. I knew this was my chance.
My husband and I packed our bags and kissed our puppies farewell for a few months and left our life in New Jersey to head to the Netherlands to partake in this trial. After only eight weeks of stimulation, I am now in remission, running 2 miles a day, and working out — something I haven’t been able to do in 15 years.
Now that we have returned, I am planning the rest of my life — something I haven’t been able to do in years. Before, my life was a revolving door of doctors’ appointments and lab work, and a never-ending fear of wondering how many years I actually had left to live and if I’d ever be healthy enough to be a mom, and healthy enough to contribute to society. Now, my life revolves around finding a new purpose. I’m not interested in going back to teaching right now though — now, I want to dedicate myself to advocating for this device and for bioelectronic medicine in general. I believe that bioelectronics, like the ones you have researched and developed, can save the world.
You are saving lives. You gave me mine back. And I don’t know how I’ll ever find the words to thank you. Please let me take you for a coffee one day to thank you in person.
With an abundance of love,
Public Policy: “the principle that injury to the public good is a basis for denying the legality of a contract or other transaction.” [As stated by the law.]
The fact of the matter is that in clinical trials, drugs like Remicade, Humira, Enbrel, and other biologics only need 50% of the trial population to have a 20% reduction in symptoms in order for the FDA to consider these drugs ‘effective.’
On the contrary, bioelectronic medicine clinical trials have shown that more than 60% of the trial population either go into remission or have up to an 80% reduction in symptoms, with their disease activity scores decreasing by more than 100 points.
Moreover, patients are grasping at straws awaiting new, alternative options for treatment. A 2019 CreakyJoints study by the Global Healthy Living Foundation showed that 74% of rheumatoid arthritis patients who are on immunosuppressive therapies are dissatisfied with their treatment, and state that they still battle pain, fatigue, and physical limitations.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and West Health Policy Center found that Big Pharma would ‘still be the most profitable industry sector’ even if it lost $1 trillion in sales. The argument from patient foundations as well as advocates who defend the interests of Big Pharma state that these companies need massive profits for research and development. Unfortunately, many of those companies spend around $50 billion more on stock buybacks than they do on research – and the beneficiaries of those buybacks are executives who are given thousands of shares of stocks on top of millions in compensation. Treatment options that disrupt a 100-billion-dollar industry are going to upset the apple cart for those betting against patients.
Traditional pharmaceuticals like Remicade and Humira can cost insurance companies and patients up to $20,000 per month. In 2013, rheumatoid arthritis alone cost the US economy 304 billion dollars, and that same year, rheumatoid arthritis patients lost 252 million in wages from missing work due to their disease. Not to mention the 43% of patients who can’t afford their prescriptions, and the 9% that go without their drugs because of the cost.
Sounds like an injury to the public good that the policymakers should do something about.
Bioelectronic medicine is big news. It will free up our dependence on drugs and reshape the future of healthcare. Imagine a world where patients aren’t dependent on expensive pharmaceuticals that drive up insurance premiums, and where their diseases aren’t just hardly managed, but treated to the point where they can thrive. The challenge is to bring this field to more patients and physicians, where there is great need as well as great opportunity.
Life, Take Two
When we returned home from Holland in September, I reached out to Dr. Tracey via email. I wanted to thank him for his three decades worth of research that led to the discovery of the inflammatory reflex and let him know that his life’s work saved my life.
After I sent it, I soon heard back from him; he was so touched to hear from a patient that he arranged for me to spend a day meeting him and touring the labs at the Institute for Bioelectronic