Helminth Therapy: Advances in the use of Parasitic Worms Against Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and its Challenges

Helminthologia. 2018 Jan 27;55(1):1-11. doi: 10.1515/helm-2017-0048. eCollection 2018 Mar.


Development of modern medicine and better living conditions in the 20th century helped in reducing a number of cases of infectious diseases. During the same time, expansion of autoimmunological disorders was noticed. Among other are Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease which are chronic and relapsing inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Absence of effective treatment in standard therapies effects the search for alternative opportunities. As per hygienic hypothesis increasing number of cases of autoimmune diseases is as a result of reduced exposure to pathogens, especially parasites. Thus, one of the promising remedial acts against IBD and other allergic and autoimmune disorders is "helminth therapy". Cure with helminths seems to be the most effective therapy of IBD currently proposed. Helminth therapy focuses on advantageous results that have been obtained from the clinical trials, but its mechanisms are still unclear. Explanation of this phenomenon would help to develop new drugs against IBD based on helminth immunomodulatory molecules.

Keywords: Heligmosomoides polygyrus; Inflammatory Bowel Diseases; helminth therapy; ulcerative colitis.