Prerequisites for the pharmaceutical industry to develop and commercialise helminths and helminth-derived product therapy

Int J Parasitol. 2013 Mar;43(3-4):319-25. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2012.12.003. Epub 2013 Jan 3.


During the past 10 years, immunologists, epidemiologists and parasitologists have made many new exciting discoveries in the field of helminth-mediated immune regulation. In addition, many animal experiments have shown that certain helminths or products derived from helminths can protect mice from developing allergic or autoimmune disease. Some clinical trials utilising Trichuris suis or Necator americanus for the treatment of allergic disorders and inflammatory bowel disease have been conducted. The outcomes of these trials suggest that they may be used to treat these disorders. However, to date no helminth therapy is routinely being applied to patients and no helminth-derived product therapy has been developed. In order to bring new drugs to the market and shoulder the enormous costs involved in developing such therapies, pharmaceutical companies need to be involved. However, currently the resources from the pharmaceutical industry devoted to this concept are relatively small and there are good reasons why the industry may have been reluctant to invest in developing these types of therapies. In this review article, the hurdles that must be overcome before the pharmaceutical industry might invest in these novel therapies are outlined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Industry / economics*
  • Drug Therapy / economics*
  • Helminths / chemistry
  • Helminths / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Therapy with Helminths / economics*