Clinical trials of helminth therapy in autoimmune diseases: rationale and findings

Parasite Immunol. 2015 Jun;37(6):277-92. doi: 10.1111/pim.12175.


Some helminths are major human pathogens. Recently, however, increased understanding of the immunoregulatory responses induced by this class of parasites, in combination with epidemiologic and animal studies, suggests that helminths may have therapeutic potential in autoimmune diseases (AD) and other conditions. This article reviews the rationale for and results of clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of helminth therapy in AD. Also discussed are future prospects for investigation and the possibility that helminth treatment may serve as a probe to help reveal the pathogenesis of AD.

Keywords: autoimmunity; immunoregulation; mucosal immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Hygiene Hypothesis
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunity, Mucosal
  • Therapy with Helminths / adverse effects*