Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Can worm eggs cure Chrons?

Yes, I know that it sounds terrible, but a new study will see patients swallowing worm eggs and letting them hatch inside them, with the aim of curing/treating Crohn's disease and colitis, known collectively as inflammatory bowel disease.

They're called "pigwhip worms" to be precise and the participants of the trial will swallow the eggs of these little guys and let them hatch inside says Dr. Ira Shafran who is one of three physicians in the U.S. who will be taking part in this study.

Dr. Shafran went on to say that "The little larvae come out and they make a contact with your intestinal lining that actually turns on an immune response," It is then believed that the worms will actually lessen that immune response and could greatly reduce gastrointestinal issues associated with the disease.

Whilst they are considered parasites to pigs, Dr. Shafran says these worms are harmless to humans and have not shown any side effects in other studies.

In fact, some scientists believe the eradication of worms from human stomachs over the past 50 years may be behind the rise in these conditions. As the number of infections by parasites, such as roundworms and human whipworms, has fallen, the number of people being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease has increased.

"This is not an invasive worm," he says. "It's not toxic to the GI tract and it doesn't cause human disease."

"If we can extract something from earth or nature and harness that naturally occurring species at a lower cost to patients without any safety issues and without altering the immune system, that's a huge development," says Dr. Shafran.

The tests are due to start sometime in November, with the findings due to be announced at a conference in the United States in May.