Could worms provide relief for autoimmune disorders?
In 1976 researcher J. A. Taunton infected himself with parasitic hookworms (a helminth), and found that his allergy symptoms disappeared as long as he was infeted1. This finding was resoundingly ignored for the following 20 years. However, resurgence in Helminth therapy is underway. A number of academic research groups and companies alike are investigating the potential of parasitic hookworms as allergy therapy. Our immune systems evolved a specific strategy to handle parasitic worm infections that relies on a specific subset of white blood cells (T lymphocytes), that is called the Th2 response. The prevailing hypothesis states that in the absence of any type of parasitic infection (as generally occurs in modern western society), the Th2 response starts attacking innocuous things such as pollen, food particles etc., which ultimately leads to health problems including allergies, asthma and eczema.
Researchers at Monash University have recently identified a molecule from hookworms that may lead to an effective autoimmune therapy without having to resort to infecting people with parasites2.
Microbiome Bites May 12th, 2019:
Butyrate Enhances Sleep
Microbiome Bites March 24th, 2019
Aging Microbiome Linked to Cardiovascular Disease
Microbiome Bites February 24th, 2019:
New Research Links Specific Gut Bacteria to Depression
Microbiome Bites January 20, 2019:
Gut Bacteria Protect Against A Common Food Allergy
Microbiome Bites December 30th, 2018:
Probiotic Provides Long-Term Protection Against Childhood Eczema
Microbiome Bites December 11th, 2018:
Appendix Linked to Parkinson’s Disease
Microbiome Bites December 2nd, 2018:
The Gut Microbiome May Protect Bone Marrow Recipients
MIcrobiome bites October 27th, 2018:
Microbiome Linked to Multiple Sclerosis
Microbiome Bites October 1st, 2019:
Cancer Cells Grow by Altering the Gut Microbiome
Microbiome Bites September 19th, 2018:
Cleaning Products Linked to Childhood Obesity
- Turton, J.A. (1976) IgE, parasites, and allergy. The Lancet ii:686.
- Chhabra, S. et al., (2014) Kv1.3 channel-blocking immunomodulatory peptides from parasitic worms: implications for autoimmune diseases. FASEB J. June 2. pii: fj.14-251967.