'Worm Therapy' Might Help Ease ColitisIn 5 young rhesus monkeys that had been diagnosed to be suffering from ‘idiopathic chronic diarrhea’, their systems were relieved by taking worm treatment. This resulted in a much healthier gut as well as considerably reduced inflammation in their colon or large intestine. Otherwise known as helminthes, such worms have for long been residing in human intestinal tract where they help ensure that it is healthy. However, in some of the most developed regions in the world, presence of such worms in human body has been fading considerably. This has accelerated the rise of autoimmune bowel disorders such as colitis and Crohn’s.

A brief look at helminth infections

P’ng Loke, microbiology assistant professor of NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City, Helminthes are pathogenic parasites. Most places in the world have been trying on how they can get rid of them as malnourished children have helminthes infections that can result in severe health problems. However, the industrialized world must look at things from a completely different perspective, considering that there has been a rapid increase in autoimmune diseases for the past 50 years as our societies continues to be more and more developed. Loke continues to explain that while recently nearly 80 percent of the people were been colonized with helminthes, there has been complex changes on the environment mostly due to changing eating habits which reduced the number drastically.

In the industrialized countries, there has been a dramatic drop in helminth infections but this has been accompanied by a sharp increase in cases of inflammatory bowel disease with more than 1.4 million people in America suffering from the condition. Even though past researches have recommended reintroduction of microbials like helminthes back into the patients, it was unclear until now how the worms tend to work out their intestinal magic. Monkeys used in the study were considered to have a diarrheal disease that was similar to the immune bowel disorders present in humans and typical symptoms included progressive loss of weight and dehydration. According to primate researches, this illness has been a leading cause of death among monkeys of this nature.

How do colitis or Crohn’s patients benefit from the study?

Loke says that the FDA has been looking at the approach recommended in the study just as they would with other drugs. The drug works like a vaccine or live attenuated vaccine that patients can use to immunize themselves with the virus. Patients stand not to be harmed in anyway from the virus but rather give them protection. While it might appear quite absurd to be immunized with a vaccine, there is no doubt that part is critical in achievement of protection. This could be horrifying to an average person by a patient of inflammatory bowel disease has every reason to explore this kind of therapy.