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Parasitic worm therapy for allergy: Is this incongruous or avant-garde medicine?


Pritchard, D I; Blount, D G; Schmid-Grendelmeier, P; Till, S J (2012). Parasitic worm therapy for allergy: Is this incongruous or avant-garde medicine? Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 42(4):505-512.

Abstract

Helminth (worm) therapy has already been used in clinical trials associated with allergy. These were generally small scale, safety orientated trials of short duration, justified by epidemiological and experimental data indicating potentially beneficial immune modulation by some parasites. However, parasites by definition are disadvantageous to their hosts, and helminth infection in particular almost invariably induces an allergic phenotype, rendering this somewhat paradoxical therapeutic approach for allergy open to scrutiny. Is parasitic worm therapy for allergy incongruous medicine, or avant-garde medicine? In the present article, we assess the strength of evidence supporting the use of helminth therapy for allergy and critically appraise the trials already completed. Then, should this approach prove successful, we suggest strategies to improve the delivery of helminth therapy, and ways to discover immune response modifiers derived from worms.

Abstract

Helminth (worm) therapy has already been used in clinical trials associated with allergy. These were generally small scale, safety orientated trials of short duration, justified by epidemiological and experimental data indicating potentially beneficial immune modulation by some parasites. However, parasites by definition are disadvantageous to their hosts, and helminth infection in particular almost invariably induces an allergic phenotype, rendering this somewhat paradoxical therapeutic approach for allergy open to scrutiny. Is parasitic worm therapy for allergy incongruous medicine, or avant-garde medicine? In the present article, we assess the strength of evidence supporting the use of helminth therapy for allergy and critically appraise the trials already completed. Then, should this approach prove successful, we suggest strategies to improve the delivery of helminth therapy, and ways to discover immune response modifiers derived from worms.

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19 citations in Web of Science®
21 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Dermatology Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:04 Mar 2012 10:44
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:39
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0954-7894
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2222.2011.03911.x
PubMed ID:22168433

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