Can Helminthic Therapy Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
Helminthic therapy involves treatment of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis by injecting parasites like parasitic worms like whipworms and hookworms. The therapy is based upon the hygiene hypothesis and is also known as worm therapy. This article tries to gain further insight on its working.
How Helminthic Therapy Claims to Treat Autoimmune Arthritis ?
Improper responses of antigens is believed to one of the strongest possible causes for autoimmune ailments apart from the role of genetic susceptibility. Antigens are immune system recognized molecules which protect our body.
They carry out their protective actions by generating Th1 responses when inside the healthy cells and Th2 responses when outside the cells. According to hygiene hypothesis, the response of antigens is regulated by a single mechanism.
Lack of exposure to certain parasites and bacteria in the environment increase the risk of developing autoimmune diseases. The immune system learns proper response partially by being exposed to these parasites. Their mere presence cause modulation in the system in such a manner that it starts responding appropriately to antigens.
However, this is not considered a complete explanation for the use of this therapy against autoimmune diseases. The exact mechanism is still to be understood. Further research on the effectiveness of this therapy is under way. The University of Nottingham and the University of Iowa have also published research papers on this subject.
Significance of Helminthic Therapy in Arthritis Treatment:
Drugs which are prescribed for curbing the swelling and pain of arthritis condition are prepared from powerful chemicals. They are notorious for their side effects apart from providing relief.
Alternative treatments like worm therapy may have limited effectiveness and might not possess a solid scientific basis. But owing to their natural working mechanism, they blend along with the components of the body without causing any side effects.