Modified Lymphocyte Transformation Test (MELISA)
What is this service?
The most frequently allergenic metals are nickel, gold, palladium, cadmium, various mercury compounds, cobalt and chromium. Occasionally, other metals can induce positive responses in MELISA, e.g. beryllium, titanium tin, platinum and copper. These types of metals can be found in dental restorations such as dental fillings, crowns, implants, and orthodontic braces. Other types of exposure can come from orthopedic devices, cardiac and vascular devices, or environmental subjections.
Metal allergies are not typically the first thing that comes to mind when discussing chronic diseases like joint and muscle pain, inflammation, cognitive impairment, depression, headaches, fibromyalgia, skin rashes, and chronic fatigue. However, exposure to metals such as those in certain dental restorations can lead to health problems in susceptible individuals. MELISA is a scientifically proven and clinically validated blood test that detects type-IV allergy to multiple metals, such as mercury, gold, palladium and titanium. It is used worldwide by healthcare professionals to help determine whether patients are hypersensitive to metals commonly used in dental restorations or medical implants. Dr. Grabiak can incorporate MELISA testing to aid the diagnosis of metal hypersensitivity.
What is the procedure?
MELISA Test (Memory Lymphocyte Immunostimulation Assay), evaluates white blood cells (lymphocytes) from whole blood that are isolated and tested against allergens chosen according to the patient’s medical, dental and occupational history. The blood is incubated for five days and the lymphocyte reaction is measured by two separate technologies: one based on the uptake of a radioisotope by dividing lymphocytes; the other on an evaluation by microscopy. The level of reactivity is measured as a Stimulation Index (SI). A value over 3 indicates a positive reaction to a given allergen. Finally, a report is produced.
The MELISA test is not invasive. The prick of a needle in your arm is minimal risk when compared with many of the other tests that are used by clinicians today. A MELISA laboratory needs 20-40 ml of blood depending on the number of metals to be tested. The blood will be drawn into special tubes containing sodium citrate (an anticoagulant). For best results the patient should not be taking any immuno-suppressive medication as this may affect the test results. Examples of such medication are steroids, allergy medicine, anti-inflammatory medicine, painkillers etc. Medical clearance with the individuals prescribing physician may be indicated prior to the cessation of any medications.
What are the benefits?
The MELISA organization was founded to promote research into metal hypersensitivity and its implications in contributing to the development of chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue syndrome. The information gleaned from a single blood sample can be used to create an individualized treatment plan for metal hypersensitivity. Dr. Grabiak frequently recommends MELISA testing when treating patients who have a chronic illness.
Current research has shown that individuals who suffer from metal sensitivity might suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, joint and muscle pain, cognitive impairment, fibromyalgia, or other autoimmune diseases. In a statement on May 15, 2019 the FDA affirmed, “a growing body of evidence suggests that a small number of patients may have biological responses to certain types of materials in implantable or insertable devices. For example, they develop inflammatory reactions and tissue changes causing pain and other symptoms that may interfere with their quality of life.” Dr. Grabiak and the Denver Dentistry team believe exposure to offending allergens and metals should be minimized or, if possible, avoided altogether. If a patient is allergic to a metal found in dental fillings or dental implants, it is important to consult Dr. Guy Grabiak DMD, FAGD who is experienced in the field of metal-free dentistry. The importance of being protected during removal of mercury fillings (SMART certified office), cannot be overstated.