Monday, September 12, 2005
UK researchers are infecting allergy and asthma sufferers with the human hookworm, Necator americanus, in a trial to see if these parasites can reduce the immune hyperactivity associated with those conditions. Now, I'm all for alternative therapies and bizarre experiments, but infecting patients with parasites seems a bit nasty.
The concept seems sound, but I would think it'd be better to figure out how the hookworms stimulate regulatory T-cell production, and see about inducing it pharmacologically. I mean, do they expect to have patients permanently trade their asthma for anemia?