What is the status of helminth therapy for Crohn's / IBS in the UK?

Helminth therapy AKA 'hook worm' therapy involves controlled infestation of a patient with parasitic worms, who produce enzymes which dampen down over active auto-immune response.

The last I heard was this was stuck in clinical trials, so big pharma can produce a drug version, when the worms themselves will clearly suffice. I think it is illegal in the US / UK, but legal elsewhere.

Anyone have any knowledge or updates on this?

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  • Apparently the results from the US drug company trial of pig whipworm weren't that encouraging.


    As far as I can see, helminth therapy is still an unregulated, "underground" industry, and is probably hyped. I reckon there's a big difference between acquiring such infections at a young age when the immune system is still learning, and giving them to an already sick person in later life. There is a greater potential for harm.

    Moises Velasquez-Manoff wrote a fascinating book about using helminth therapy to treat his own autoimmune condition, and it's definitely worth a read. It's beautifully written and thought provoking, and I think it gives a nicely balanced account.

  • I read something about hookworm therapy yesterday and I think it mentioned some research being done at Nottingham Uni?

  • its not currently used in the UK and i think anyone considering it should have tried everything else bar surgery first.

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