The Worms for Immune Regulation in MS (WIRMS) study, funded by the MS society, aims to determine whether infecting people with a small and harmless number of hookworms can lead to improvements in the severity of MS over a 12-month period.
Parasitic worms are thought to help ‘dampen down’ the immune system, which is overactive in people with MS.
The study will involve introducing 25 microscopic worms painlessly into the body through a patch in the arm, which are then flushed out after nine months.
‘Jayne Spink, director of research at the MS Society, said: ‘It sounds like science fiction, but it has been shown in a previous small study that people with MS who also had gut parasite infections had fewer relapses.
‘If the theories can be shown to be accurate, using hookworms as a future treatment option may prove to be science fact,’ she added.
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