Newbery Medicine was founded by Dr. Silvio Najt (1952 – 2016), a recognized leader in the development of FMT protocols. Dr. Najt began his investigation into IBD in connection with understanding the condition of his own child. He had some success through dietary changes and supplements other than the traditional immunosuppressant medications, but these protocols were not controlling the underlying inflammation. After discovering the work of Professor Thomas Borody in Sydney, Dr. Najt immediately saw that fecal transplants made great sense. Until then, the only intervention in gut bacteria—one of the key components of the perpetuation of inflammation— were diet and pre- or probiotics. FMT was a very effective way of transforming the “bacterial organ.”
To follow up, Dr. Najt created Newbery Medical, made up of a team of medical professionals, specialists in bacteriology and infectious disease control. Together, they developed the pioneering FMT treatment protocols that have been so successful with Newbery´s patients. The philosophy of the Team is that every patient is unique and requires the personalized attention. Newbery Medicine was created to provide a comfortable environment where we can optimize the health of each patient according to their specific needs.
Do you have any limitation on what patients you accept and what conditions you treat?
Although we have treated patients of all ages and would consider many conditions, we thoroughly evaluate each patient to ensure that our treatment will benefit their illness. This protects the best interests of our patients since our mission is to manage their expectations and optimize their health.
What health conditions do you see?
Our main objective is to treat diseases with a strong inflammatory component in the digestive system, but often IBD cases come hand-in-hand with other diseases such as Celiac, gluten sensitivity, uveitis, rheumatoid arthritis, spondylitis, food intolerance, multiple sclerosis, and many more.
We also work with a group of consultants in areas such as pediatrics, ophthalmology, ORL, surgery, infectious disease, and neurology who actively intervene whenever they are needed.
Are there things that patients can do to increase their success?
We are immersed in an ocean of threats to our health every day. As such, every living thing should avoid potential contamination as much as possible including WiFi, nuclear radiation, processed food, vaccines, useless medications, nonsense vitamins and supplements, fluoride in the water and in toothpaste, mercury, asbestos, etc.
Eat food—real food—locally produced without chemical interventions, properly cooked or fermented. This is the best source of nutrients and energy for our general health.
We have to understand that FMT is a long-term therapy used to treat chronic conditions; it needs to be maintained without interruption just as an IBD case that responds to a medication like Remicade needs a maintenance dose for a long period of time. It’s the same situation for a UC patient who responds to FMT; they will require a maintenance dose every two to four weeks. We have now experience with patients that have been on maintenance in remission for almost three years and are able to control the inflammation and return to a normal life.
How is your treatment center different than others who do FMT?
We are a science based group with a background of decades of medical experience. We discovered that FMT can be a very powerful and successful therapy after developing an effective preparatory protocol prior to implantation. Similar to a patient rejecting an organ transplant, FMT practitioners saw serious reactions including the reactivation of the underlying disease. For that reason, we follow a strict protocol with every patient receiving FMTs.
How long do the treatments last each day? How many days are the treatment sessions?
Initially we keep the patient about an hour and a half to two hours to make sure they do not develop any reaction. There is always a doctor in the clinic to supervise every procedure. FMTs are quite safe but this is a medical procedure that should be handled by qualified personnel.
What sort of results do you typically see with your patients?
As a result of our training, protocols and level of individualized preparation for the treatments, we see very good results. In cases like food intolerance, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn´s we have had remission in about 80% of the patients. This has been maintained over time as we encourage the patient to continue with the therapy. Thanks to this advanced technology that surrounds us, we are in constant contact with our patients, and we are able to correct or solve numerous situations in an early stage, before they go out of control. This is time demanding but the results and the satisfaction of the patients is enormous. Another big factor is that we monitor the patients through biochemical markers that show us if the therapy is working—not just by observed symptoms—which allows us to anticipate corrections to the treatment.
Donors and bacteria bank
We have developed a highly sophisticated bacteria bank carefully supervised by our two bacteriologists and our director whose has decades of experience in infectious diseases. Our bacteriologists are both PhD in the specialty and take good care of all the phases of the process. Fecal bacteria are very delicate to manipulate as they come from a dark, humid and non-oxygen environment to a richly oxygenated, dry and lighted world. For that reason every step in the process should be highly studied and controlled to get the best results.
In that sense, our donors are thoroughly selected, screened and controlled to avoid any deviation from our standards. We regularly monitor their health status in order to insure the best quality for our samples.
What kind of preparation you recommend before proceeding with FMTs, antibiotics, purge, cleansing?
We understand the gut environment as a very complex and delicate ecosystem that can´t be violently disrupted without serious consequences. When we receive a patient with inflammatory issues, we know he/she has an abnormal microbiota composition, that his “organ” is deeply unbalanced. Our idea is that although the patient´s gut is not perfect, we should not make it even worst by “cleaning” it with antibiotics, enemas or any other disturbance of the original atmosphere. The new bacteria that will arrive via FMT will need the best conditions to engraft and survive, that means food, humidity and temperature. We may plant the best seed in the world but if the soil is not the proper one, no plant will grow from it.
By using any of the mentioned “cleaning” methods we create a harsh environment for the new bacteria that will make life for them almost impossible.
Are there any special recommendations for after a patient completes their FMT procedure?
Many patients who consult with us have chronic diseases, and for the treatment to be effective, they must continue for some time to maintain the progress achieved during the “induction” phase. Every case requires an individually tailored follow up. We keep in touch with the patient or the physician who follows the person once they’ve returned home. Patients may take with them enough specimens as to maintain the treatment for a long time.
For those who cannot travel to your location, do you ship fecal implants for self administration?
Initially, we did advise some patients from a distance, but we found it to be very difficult as we were trained to have a “medical encounter.” There is a great deal of information that can´t be obtained without personal contact and nothing can replace a face-to-face consultation or physical examination. An initial phone interview is great for us to start learning about a person and for you to learn about us, as well as for patient follow up, but treating these complex cases should be done at our clinic.
We do not provide the bacteria specimens to people that we did not treat.
For those who are coming from other countries, will they need to factor in the cost of travel, food and accommodations or are those factored into the cost of treatment?
Buenos Aires is an affordable and safe destination when compared to any other big city in the world. It takes around 11 hours of direct flight from New York, Miami, London or Rome. Food is less expensive than any of the mentioned cities and the variety and options are enormous. The weather is quite mild with a very long summer. Many hotels, B&B, hostels, and Airbnbs are offered around Newbery which is located in the very trendy neighborhood of Palermo. Buenos Aires is a sophisticated, cosmopolitan city with a European feel and the Palermo area is a particularly bustling part of the city both during the day and after hours. Buenos Aires is also a very safe destination when compared to other large cities in the world. Many conventional grocery stores are nearby, with multiple options for specially food stores: fish markets, butchers, bakeries, organic, gluten free (“sin tacc”), and more. Credit cards are accepted at most retailers in Palermo as the country continues to open its markets to the global economy
Do patients need to know Spanish?
Not at all. English is taught at school and almost everybody speaks it. In addition, the city is quite easy to navigate given the availability of public transport and an abundance of affordable taxis. Those who do not speak English are patient and friendly, and appreciate any effort at communicating in Spanish!
If patients are traveling to Argentina from other countries, are there any special instructions they should know regarding weather, clothing, local dining or things that they should pack or be sure to bring with them (like a passport or visa)?
Most foreign visitors do not need to have a visa, you may check this link (the reciprocity fee with the USA is suspended but can change). Buenos Aires offers anything anyone might need.
Are patients provided meals at your clinic or will they need to find dining in the area?
Newbery does not provide meals, but we can direct patients and their families to the best restaurants to fulfill and dietary need: vegan, organic, gluten free, etc. Also there are two farmers markets within walking distance.
Are there things that patients should bring to their treatment? (medications, something to read, medical documents, etc.)
Patients should have good health travel insurance, like for any other type of trip. We will prescribe any medication we need them to take to prepare the patient for the treatment. It is usually a moderate amount of steroids to reduce inflammation and rejection of the new bacteria. We will provide them with any preparation of prescription they might need during their stay. A copy of their medical record will be requested in the interview process previous to their arrival.
Do your patients stay at your clinic overnight or do they need to find living quarters?
Newbery is an ambulatory clinic; we do not offer overnight stay. There are plenty of new and very affordable apartments within a few minutes walking distance from us.We have identified a number of good sites that we recommend. Also we have people who could arrange airport transportation.
Will patients need to remain in their rooms during their treatment protocols or would they be able to do sight-seeing and other tourist activities?
We request that the first two days they remain calm, giving the chance for the new bacteria to find their place in the gut. Too much activity will demand a lot of energy that will be subtracted from the gut process. We recommend our patients find a relaxing, pleasant place to let their bodies have time to heal.