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Successful trial of the parasite Necator Americanus in coeliacs

Researchers at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital have shown for the first time that parasitic hookworms can be successful in treating coeliac disease.

In their trial, of 20 coeliacs, 10 were infected with live human hookworms while 10 members were not. The parasites burrowed into participants' skin and entered the bloodstream after being applied to the forearm. They then travelled via the lungs to the gut where they happily colonised.

For 21 weeks, the coeliac patients were fed white bread each day and were examined for a reaction.

The study's co-author, Dr James Daveson, says patients with the parasitic gut worm fared dramatically better to gluten exposure than those without. "They experienced less inflammation and less damage was seen in the intestinal wall," he said.

At the end of the trial, the volunteers were offered worm medication to rid themselves of the parasites, but all chose to keep their worms.

The study will be presented at the Australian Gastroenterology Week conference in Sydney.

Click here to read more.

Published October 2009.


More research on the management of coeliac disease


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