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'Worm Therapy' Might Help Ease Colitis, Monkey Study Shows
Date:11/16/2012

st group, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

"I think the average layperson might find this horrifying," Loftus acknowledged. "But actually the average well-read [inflammatory bowel disease] patient would probably be very eager to explore this therapy, because a lot of patients are scared by our more conventional immuno-suppressive and biologic treatments, which carry a small risk of serious infections and other side effects," he pointed out.

"And this fascinating and kind of novel study suggests that these worms can help by significantly affecting the bacterial makeup of the colon," Loftus said. "For the large subset of patients who are looking for an alternative approach, this finding could be incredibly appealing."

Scientists note that research with animals -- monkeys in this case -- often fails to provide similar results in humans.

More information

To learn more about colitis, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: P'ng Loke, Ph.D., assistant professor of microbiology, department of microbiology, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; Edward Loftus, Jr., M.D., professor of medicine, and director, inflammatory bowel disease interest group, division of gastroenterology and hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Nov. 15, 2012, PLOS Pathogens


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