Research ongoing in using worms to treat autoimmune diseases

The Wall Street Journal reports that according to a number of studies, treatment using whipworm eggs may reduce the symptoms in some autoimmune diseases such as ulcerative colitis.

In addition, research is expected to begin on rheumatoid arthritis, autism, and allergies.

The Journal discusses the hygiene hypothesis underlying the treatment, which suggests that humans have been reducing exposure to microorganisms that are necessary to modulate the immune system, resulting in an increase in the incidence of immune system diseases, such as asthma.

Whipworms may be ideal for this type of treatment because they can trigger an immune-modulating effect in, but do not infect or colonize, humans.

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