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Protein Secreted By Worm Eggs Holds Key To Anti-inflammatory Therapy

In a startling discovery, researchers from UK show that proteins secreted by eggs of the parasite - Schistosoma mansoni - might hold the key to the next anti-inflammatory therapy // .

Their study findings appear in the November issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Schistosoma mansoni, a trematode parasite that infects humans has genes that have been selected to modulate the host to tolerate chronic worm infections, often for decades, without overt morbidity.

The researchers show that Schistosoma mansoni eggs secrete a protein with strong anti-inflammatory qualities into the host tissues, that binds certain chemokines and inhibits their interaction with host chemokine receptors and their biological activity, and thus may be effective in battling against acute inflammations.

The purified recombinant Schistosoma mansoni chemokine binding protein (smCKBP) was found to suppress inflammation in several disease models.

smCKBP is unrelated to host proteins and is the first described chemokine binding protein encoded by a pathogenic human parasite and may have potential as an anti-inflammatory agent.

However, the researchers warn that infection with the worm can cause illness and death, so it would be inappropriate to infect people intentionally. They are currently trying to identify what part of the worm can be used to treat such disease as allergies and inflammatory bowel disease.

This study highlights the potential for using pathogen-derived immune modulating molecules as novel therapeutics for inflammatory diseases such as lung diseases and psoriasis.


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