IBS Network

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?

4 Replies

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.


For all the latest info on helminthic therapy, visit the largest reference work on this topic - the Helminthic Therapy wiki.

The site has full details about all the organisms used and the companies that supply them, as well as hundreds of scientific papers, media articles and personal stories by helminthic therapy self-treaters, and it's updated daily.



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