Wormy Pills Might Fend Off Autoimmune Diseases

 Wormy Pills Might Fend Off Autoimmune Diseases

Scientists have identified peptides from parasitic hookworms that can calm the body’s immune response and perhaps pave the way to treat autoimmune diseases.

Experts believe the peptide molecules could help explain why worm infections can effectively treat diseases such as multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.

Autoimmune diseases occur when a person’s immune system has an abnormal response against its own cells, tissues, or even entire organs, resulting in inflammation and damage.

Lead researcher Professor Ray Norton from Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) says experts around the world have yet to fully understand the causes of autoimmune diseases, which have risen significantly in parts of the world.


 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

Rise In Autoimmune Disease

“There are more than eighty autoimmune diseases, ranging in severity from mild to life threatening in some cases. While some affect mainly one area or organ, others can affect many parts of the body,” he says.

“Many people believe there’s a link between the rise in autoimmune diseases and an increased focus on cleanliness in western societies, because the immune system is no longer exposed to the broad range of infections that previous generations had to deal with.

“There could be some truth to this because worm infection is virtually unheard of in developed countries, yet the incidence of autoimmune diseases is high. But in developing countries the opposite is true,” Norton says

Worm Therapy

The new line of research offers an alternative to helminthic therapy, where people deliberately infect themselves with parasitic worms, in an attempt to put their autoimmune disease into remission. It’s thought that the worms have a calming effect on their host’s immune systems in order to ensure their survival.

Rather than using worms, the research team searched for the active components responsible for immunomodulatory effects in parasitic worms. By creating a cDNA library from the anterior secretory glands of the parasitic hookworm Ancylostoma caninium, they identified a peptide called AcK1 that dampens the immune system by inhibiting a potassium channel.

Researchers found that AcK1 closely resembles ShK, a peptide from a sea anemone that has been shown to suppress autoimmune diseases and is currently in clinical trials for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

New Drugs

Sandeep Chhabra from MIPS says the study will help in developing new drugs to treat autoimmune diseases.

“Our research shows that it is possible to identify individual molecules responsible for this beneficial affect,” he says.

“The next step will be to see if we can develop this into a pill that could dampen the immune system in people with an autoimmune disease. That’s a whole lot cleaner than putting a worm in your body,” Chhabra says.

The study appears in the FASEB Journal.
Source: Monash University
Original Study

AVAILABLE LANGUAGES

English Afrikaans Arabic Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Danish Dutch Filipino Finnish French German Greek Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Indonesian Italian Japanese Korean Malay Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Spanish Swahili Swedish Thai Turkish Ukrainian Urdu Vietnamese

Monday, 17 May 2021 08:55

Maybe you’re trying to eat healthier these days, aiming to get enough of the good stuff and limit the less-good stuff. You’re paying attention to things like fiber and fat and vitamins… and...

Tuesday, 18 May 2021 16:15

In my blog posts, free resources, and courses, I talk a lot about the things that we can do to support and develop our inborn, natural interspecies communication abilities. In this post, I...

Wednesday, 19 May 2021 08:07

For many people, the thing they’ve missed most during the pandemic is being able to hug loved ones. Indeed, it wasn’t until we lost our ability to hug friends and family did many realise just how...

Sunday, 16 May 2021 14:24

The human body is an amazing thing, full of systems, organs, nerves, and vessels that work together in harmony. You’ve seen the body described as a machine, as a city, or even as a factory....

Friday, 02 April 2021 08:02

  Microdosing has become something of a wellness trend in recent years. The practice involves taking a low dose of a psychedelic drug to enhance performance, or reduce stress and anxiety.

Thursday, 27 July 2023 22:59

Loneliness can profoundly impact our physical and emotional health, and a new study from Tulane University has shed light on its significant role in the development of cardiovascular disease among...

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.