Helminthic therapy research

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This page lists more than 660 papers and reports of scientific studies relating to helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. and closely related topics such as the Hygiene Hypothesis, the Old Friends' Hypothesis, Evolutionary Mismatch Theory and Biome Depletion Theory / Biota Alteration Theory.

There are four organisms being used currently in helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy..

  • Human hookwormA helminth that lives in the small intestine. Necator americanus (NA) is the only hookworm species used in helminthic therapy. Its microscopic larvae are applied periodically to the skin., Necator americanus (NAthe human hookworm, Necator americanus)
  • Human whipwormA helminth with a tapering whiplike body that lives in the colon. In helminthic therapy, the microscopic eggs of either the human Trichuris trichiura (TTO) or pig Trichuris suis (TSO) are taken in a drink., Trichuris trichiura (TTOthe ova (eggs) of the human whipworm, Trichuris trichiura)
  • Pig whipwormA helminth with a tapering whiplike body that lives in the colon. In helminthic therapy, the microscopic eggs of either the human Trichuris trichiura (TTO) or pig Trichuris suis (TSO) are taken in a drink., Trichuris suis (TSOthe ova (eggs) of the porcine (pig) whipworm, Trichuris suis)
  • Rat tapewormA helminth with a flat, ribbon-like, segmented body. Only the murine (rat) tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta, is used in helminthic therapy and this generally does not reach adulthood in humans so requires regular dosing of HDC., Hymenolepis diminuta (HDCHymenolepis diminuta cysticercoids (Hi-men-o-lep'is dim-a-nu-ta sis-ti-sur-koid) - the larval cysts of the rat tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta)

Some of the reports and papers listed below have focussed on the effects of other species of helminthAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths], or molecules derived from them, but all are nevertheless valuable for the insights they provide about the therapeutic and prophylactic effects of helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths].

Unless otherwise stated, the main links are to PubMed abstracts, with additional inks to full text and PDF copies, if available. Where free full text copies are not available via PubMed, these can usually be obtained from other sources such as Sci-Hub, or the Facebook group, Get Your Papers. Further papers on helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. can be found by searching PubMed, which carries almost all of the scientific papers written on this subject.

Reading packet

These selected papers provide a good overview of the potential of helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. and would be suitable resources to include in a reading packet to be given to a doctor or someone who is unaware of the evidence and rationale for helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy.. The first two papers provide validation for the practice of self-treatmentMedication or treatment of one's own disease or condition without medical supervision. with helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths].

  • Overcoming Evolutionary Mismatch by Self-Treatment with Helminths: Current Practices and Experience (2015)
    This study probes the methods and outcomes reported by individuals who are self-treating with helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths] and is an ideal basis for discussion between patients and their physicians.
  • Helminth–host immunological interactions: prevention and control of immune-mediated diseases (2012)
    Summarises the science underpinning helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy..

Research papers & articles

Tips for searching the list

Symbols used in the list of documents:

  • ✅ - A key paper/report in the development of the therapeutic use of helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths]
  • ⚡ - A good place to start if you are new to helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy., or if you are looking for resources that would help someone else to understand the therapy.

If you are interested in helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. in relation to a particular medical condition, use your device’s search function to locate the items that are relevant to that disease. Several conditions will require the use of more than one search term, for example:

  • Allergies - search for “allerg”, “atopy” and “anaphylaxis”
  • Anemia - search for “anemia” and “anaemia”
  • Arthritis - search for ”arthrit” and “joint”
  • Asthma - search for “asthma”, “airway” and “wheeze”
  • Autism - search for “autism” and “ASD”
  • Celiac disease - search for “celiac” and “coeliac”
  • Crohn’s disease - search for “Crohn”, “bowel” and “IBDInflammatory bowel disease is a group of conditions affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, particularly the colon and small intestine. The major types of IBD are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC).
  • Diabetes - search for “diabet”, “insulin”, “glucose” and “metabolic syndrome”
  • Heart disease - search for “cardio” and “atherosclerosis”
  • Inflammation - search for “inflam”
  • Leaky gut - search for “barrier”
  • Multiple sclerosis - search for “multiple sclerosis” rather than “MSMultiple sclerosis (also known as disseminated sclerosis) is a chronic, typically progressive disease involving damage to the sheaths of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, whose symptoms may include numbness, impairment of speech and of muscular coordination, blurred vision and severe fatigue.
  • Obesity - search for “obes” and “adipose”
  • Pregnancy - search for “preg” and “mater”
  • Ulcerative colitisUlcerative colitis (Colitis ulcerosa, UC) is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which specifically affects the large intestine, or colon, causing characteristic ulcers, or open sores. The main symptom of active disease is constant diarrhea mixed with blood, of gradual onset. - search for “colitis”, “bowel” and “IBDInflammatory bowel disease is a group of conditions affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, particularly the colon and small intestine. The major types of IBD are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC).

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  • 1982 Jul Modulation of immune responses by commensalCommensalism is a relationship between two organisms where one benefits from the other without affecting it. bacteria and intestinal helminth PDF

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  • ✅ 1976 Sept 25 Letter: IgE, parasites, and allergy This paper reported the first known case of successful helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. in which colonisation with Necator americanusThe species of human hookworm used in helminthic therapy. Its microscopic larvae are applied periodically to the skin. was shown to resolve hay fever.
  • ✅ 1976 Aug Serum IgE levels in white and metis communities in Saskatchewan This paper's author suggested that atopic disease is the price paid by some members of the white community of northern Saskatchewan for their relative freedom from helminth infestation and viral and bacterial infection.

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Take part in the research

Socio-medical research at Duke University

The researchers at Duke have previously reported on data they have already gathered.

The team at Duke are now looking for details about the use of helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. to treat those conditions for which helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths] are less commonly employed, such as lupus, migraine headaches and neuropsychiatric disorders. If you have used helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. to treat one of these conditions, and whether or not this proved successful, please consider completing the Helminth Self-treatment Survey.

Crowd-sourced health data on the Cure Together website

Cure Together aggregates the quantitative information shared anonymously by patients from around the world about their own condition(s), symptoms and treatments. This patient-contributed data has already enabled new discoveries to be made, and the site offers helminth self-treaters a means of alerting others to the helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. option, about which many would otherwise never become aware.

Support the research by donation

The vast majority of research into the effects of helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths] is being carried out by researchers aiming to discover worm-derived molecules that can potentially be used to create drugs, and this work is already well funded by agencies hoping to benefit from the patents and sales which it is anticipated will follow in the wake of successful drug discovery.

Far less well funded is the research into the use and effects of live helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths], and their development for mass application in both the treatment and prevention of autoimmune, inflammatory and allergic diseases, including neuropsychiatric conditions.

This latter work is being spearheaded by Prof William Parker and his team at Duke University, the progress of which is dependent on finance being found for each step they take - finance which is hard to secure from the usual sources due to the perceived lack of potential profits.

At the present time, the team at Duke have two main goals for their helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. research.

  • Writing papers, including reviews, commentaries, and policy briefs about helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy.. In particular, they want to push for change in the landscape of the field to get helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths] repositioned away from the modern drug pipeline, which is unsuitable and impractical for helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy.. The Duke team would also like to be able to provide evidence to encourage governments to focus on the ultimate causes of diseases rather than on applying ‘sticking plasters’ to patch up sick people, and to concentrate on disease prevention - especially by means of biota restoration - rather than on the use of expensive pharmaceuticals.
  • Continuing to pursue the traditional pathway, for example, by seeking approval from the FDA for trials with HDCsHymenolepis diminuta cysticercoids (Hi-men-o-lep'is dim-a-nu-ta sis-ti-sur-koid) - the larval cysts of the rat tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta.

Donations are needed to support this work at Duke, and even small amounts will make a difference. For example, $50 will go a long way towards covering the cost of publishing a scientific paper. $500 will help towards supporting a summer intern working on the HDCHymenolepis diminuta cysticercoids (Hi-men-o-lep'is dim-a-nu-ta sis-ti-sur-koid) - the larval cysts of the rat tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta project. $5,000 would cover the supply costs of the HDCHymenolepis diminuta cysticercoids (Hi-men-o-lep'is dim-a-nu-ta sis-ti-sur-koid) - the larval cysts of the rat tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta project for five months. $10,000 could pay for a study in an animal model, for example testing the idea that helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths] may help with wound healing. (This is something the team at Duke believe, based on available information, that helminthsAn intestinal worm which grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye when mature but which is microscopic when administered in helminthic therapy. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths Wikipedia:Helminths] probably do, but which has not yet been tested. If the hypothesis were shown to be correct, this would provide a huge push forward for the field of wound care.)

Anyone wishing to donate by cheque should make this out either to "Duke University Medical Center", with "for William Parker's HThelminthic therapy research" in the memo, or to "William Parker", with "Immunity's Forge" in the memo. The Immunity’s Forge art studio website is also set up to take donations by credit card via a donation page. Either of these approaches will ensure that the money donated will be spent on helminthic therapyThe reintroduction to the digestive tract of a controlled number of specially domesticated, mutualistic helminths (intestinal worms) in the form of microscopic eggs or larvae to reconstitute a depleted biome to treat and prevent chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders including allergy. research and not on one of the other projects being pursued by Parker’s lab, such as the autism/acetaminophen project. Both the medical centre and the art studio are registered non-profit organisations, so donations to either are tax deductible for US citizens.

Further reading

These pages contain further research papers and articles relevant to each page title.

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