Another article on worms and the hygiene hypothesis from the BBC. And a detailed, follow-up article that lists the three new Immunology articles that provoked these articles. The popularity of this in recent press is very exciting. Of course, they always say they’re looking for the molecule that the worms ilicit in order to treat autoimmune diseases:
Professor Anne Cooke: “It will allow you to identify pathways of disease and allow you to modify them with small molecules, not the whole worm.”
“Before I would even consider treating a child with type 1 diabetes I would have to be sure it was safe and understand the mechanisms underlying it.
“We are talking about using fractions not the whole parasite.”
What they don’t recognize is that in the meantime, there are desperate patients like me, absolutely willing to try worms to alleviate our diseases. Especially as the choices we have are so dangerous – a small colony of hookworms or whipworms that only cause transient side effects (and this is written by the side effect queen), or Tysrabi, with a 1 in 1000 chance of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy? If I were a parent of a child with type 1 Diabetes, or Crohn’s, I would absolutely jump at the chance of trying a light hookworm infection rather than the alternative. How many decades until Professor Cooke and others figure out those fractions of parasites? I would lose another piece of my intestines.
We want worms now.