Helminthic Therapy: A Review
Autoimmune and inflammatory diseases represent a significant health burden, especially in affluent societies and that no cure exists for majority of these diseases. Medication can slow the disease's progression, but many of the drugs on the market have unpleasant side effects. Current research on parasitic worms (helminthes) has demonstrated a great potential for whole worms, their eggs or their excretory/secretory proteins in down regulating the immune system and hence the associated inflammatory responses both in vitro and in vivo, in various animal models of diseases and in some clinical trials. The helminthes are thought to modulate and down regulate the T helper cell 1 (Th1) and T helper cell 2 (Th2) axis. Helminthic therapy is hence a novel attempt to restore some of the organisms that we have co evolved with, that can modulate our immune system thereby leading to remission or cure from certain incurable inflammatory and auto immune diseases.