Taking on Autoimmune Diseases—with Worms!


In less-developed countries, parasitic roundworms can colonize the gut and cause significant intestinal problems. But autoimmune diseases, the devastating package of disorders in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells, are rare in those places. By contrast, in the United States, where roundworm infections are no longer part of the ecosystem, as many as 50 million people suffer with autoimmune diseases. Coincidence? Many scientists don’t think so. Worms seem to block the culprit inflammatory response and researchers hope to isolate the molecules involved to produce a worm-derived oral treatment that targets autoimmune diseases.

  • 2024 Health

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