Micro-worms to the Rescue?

Clinical trial looks to treat multiple sclerosis with hookworms

Hookworms

Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control

Doctors are trying to treat the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS) with hookworms. Yes, worms. (You might be familiar with these types of tiny parasites from an incident with your cat or dog.) Ewwwww. But whatever works, right?

Researchers at The University of Nottingham in the UK have recently announced their clinical trial ,in which 36 patients will receive the experimental worm treatment.

Apparently, people with naturally acquired hookworm infections seem to do better with their MS symptoms because the body's reaction to hookworms might decrease inflammation. MS is a disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the nervous system, leading to progressive loss of nerve function. The disease affects more than 2.5 million people across the world.

The researchers will administer a dose of 25 microscopic hookworms through an arm patch and let them do their mischief in the body. After nine months of treatment, the hookworms will be killed with drugs.