Saturday, September 21, 2013

Creepy Crawlers for Crohn's: Coming to a Scientific Journal Near You!

I've mentioned helminthic therapy and the lost friends theory on this blog before. (I'm not lying! Click here or here if you don't believe me!) As I was browsing the interwebs I ran across a short article about the use of pig whipworms (Trichuris suis) in treating Crohn's disease. Of course, I smiled...I love the lost friends theory and I've read that helminthic therapy has remission rates in the 90s for people with Crohn's and ulcerative colitis.  The article was pretty works pretty well...there's no autoinfeciton...the biggest hurdle with patients is the "yuck" factor...but one of the last paragraphs of the article really caught my attention:

"We’ll know more about the whipworm’s effectiveness when results of a phase 2 clinical trial involving 250 patients with Crohn’s disease is published in the fourth quarter of this year. Coronado also is testing its parasite therapy in patients with multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis and psoriasis, and expects to begin a type 1 diabetes trial soon." --This Article

Just a Petri dish of little whipworms.
I almost jumped off of my couch and broke my laptop that I can't really afford to replace. (Good thing almost doesn't count!....except of course in horseshoes and hand grenades.)  They have 250 patients with Crohn's in phase 2 of clinical trials with helminthic therapy?!?!?! HOW COOL IS THAT?!?!?!  I'm super stoked to see the results of the study!  With good, solid clinical trials nearing completion, this means that helminthic therapy will gain notoriety among doctors as an effective treatment option!  (Assuming it works...which, by all accounts I've read it does....the question is whether or not it is more effective that conventional drugs...which, according to everything I've read on patient forums, all signs point to yes...and *bonus points* it's far cheaper than pharmaceuticals.) I can't wait for this paper to hit scientific journals so I can be blown away all over again.  This really is's an exciting time to be a parasitologist!  Finally, some good press for the things we parasitophiliacs love and adore! I'm probably getting a little ahead of myself...let us wait and see what the results tell us!

Also, I've read about helminthic therapy for multiple sclerosis and of course for ulcerative colitis, but the psoriasis thing is new!  I have also read about the use of helminthic therapy for food's pretty amazing how helpful these little guys can be.  The last sentence really, really blew me away..."expects to begin a type 1 diabetes trial soon"???  So we can add diabetes to the list of things that might be treatable by purposely infecting oneself with parasites? DIA-FREAKIN-BETES?!?!?! WOW!!!!  An exciting time to live indeed!

Diagram showing common skin bacteria...just the skin...
While I'm here, here's a little note on the "yuck" factor: If you are a person suffering from Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or good lord multiple sclerosis, are you really going to let your mind freak you out over a treatment that is cheaper than drugs, has high remission rates, and causes fewer severe side effects?  With the pain you are living in and the debt you are accruing, what is keeping you from giving this type of therapy a try?  Is the thought of something living inside of you really that disturbing?  Do you realize that you already have things...LOTS of inside of your body RIGHT THIS MOMENT???  Your body depends on an array of gut microbes in order to even function.  Millions of bacteria are colonizing your body and helping you to do things your body could never accomplish on its own.  You've also likely played host to hundreds of things in your lifetime...most of which you developed antibodies to in order to help yourself fight off such invaders the next time they come around. You've also (hopefully) had things introduced into your body to help you build these antibodies in order to protect you from getting full-on diseases like measles, diptheria, and polio.  Your body is a walking skin-bag of microorganisms zipping through it to keep the well-oiled machine of you going.  If some part of your body is having maintenance issues, and costly prescriptions and surgeries aren't helping, why not call in some wormy-friends to kick-start your immune system?  After all, what have you got to lose? Get over the idea of "something living inside of me" and get yourself feeling better!

Moral of the Story
Be on the lookout for the new paper about the effectiveness of helminthic therapy in treating Crohn's disease!  Coming to a peer-reviewed journal near YOU in the fourth quarter of this year! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment