Trichuris suis ova, lecithin and other fancy molecules

Dig Dis. 2014;32 Suppl 1:67-73. doi: 10.1159/000367831. Epub 2014 Dec 17.


During the last 20 years, treatment paradigms as well as drugs used for IBD have changed significantly. However, there are still many unmet needs and a significant number of patients needing better therapy. It is obvious from this situation that many attempts have been made to implement new drugs and treatment algorithms including biologicals, new formulations of old drugs and 'fancy molecules or approaches'. For about 10 years, the application of Trichuris suis ova has been promoted and used in quite a number of patients. Two early studies suggested positive effects in ulcerative colitis as well as in Crohn's disease. These studies were based on experimental data in animal models as well as in vitro experiments. However, two large randomized controlled trials were not able to provide significant clinical effects in active Crohn's disease as compared to placebo, although a biological reaction (eosinophilia) was found. Another approach is the use of locally released phosphatidylcholine in ulcerative colitis. This approach is based on decreased phosphatidylcholine concentrations in the colonic mucus in patients, and showed positive effects in a number of monocentric trials in steroid-refractory and chronic active ulcerative colitis. A dose-finding study gave a positive signal in the highest-dose group and this approach is being tested further in controlled trials. Many other 'fancy molecules' including cannabis, vitamin D, thalidomide, hyaluronic acid, lidocaine, clonidine, chondroitin sulfate, naltrexone and melatonin have been tested in patients with claims of success. For most of those, however, controlled data in appropriate studies are lacking. Many more substances have been used in animal models and are probably applied in individual patients. Results of preliminary studies on some of the molecules mentioned are presented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / parasitology*
  • Lecithins / therapeutic use*
  • Ovum / cytology*
  • Trichuris / cytology*


  • Biological Products
  • Lecithins