December 12, 2012

Cheers to a Worm Cocktail to Combat Type 1 Diabetes

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Coronado Biosciences is developing a therapeutic use for worms to retrain the immune system from developing Type 1 diabetes. This approach is based on the Hygiene Theory, which states a lack of exposure to infectious agents  increases susceptibility to certain diseases by suppressing natural development of the immune system.

Calm down. The “infectious agents” used by Coronado is a worm ova, that is the egg before it becomes the worm. They are called TSO, which is a pig wip worm that lives in the body of a pig, not humans. The ova solution is ingested by the patient. The eggs are undetectable to the naked eye or in taste. The journey into the body turns into a party when the stomach flora welcome the TSO. Together they work their magic to “retain” the immune system to prevent the attack on the beta cells.

In theory, the TSO colonize the intestine without invading the rest of the body or creating any other disease. The company is currently considering three trials: children with the potential of developing Type 1 diabetes, newly diagnosed children with T1D and newly diagnosed adults.

If you take the time to view the Fox News interview with the Chief Medical Officer of Coronado Biosciences you’ll realize there is more there than a figurehead with a noggin full of facts. Dr. Karin Hehenberger is an M.D., a PhD, an Executive Vice President, and a Type 1 diabetic who has lived through the fire and brimstone of a T1D attack. Her mission is to prevent and protect this mayhem from happening to others.

Although the initial presentation can make anyone a little squeamish, the truth of the matter is Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. If the use of helminths, or parasites, in the treatment of autoimmune disease  based on the hygiene theory holds water, this could be very interesting. This may be our shot at annihilating autoimmune diseases. Bottoms up.

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