New Zealand’s Malaghan Institute is seeking healthy volunteers to take part in a clinical trial designed to explore the therapeutic potential of human hookworms.
The study is funded by the Health Research Council and in collaboration with the University of Otago Wellington, the trial’s ultimate aim is to find better treatment options for a range of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, including coeliac, asthma, allergy, MS and inflammatory bowel disease.
Hookworms are masters at dampening down the human immune system to evade detection and expulsion reports Professor Graham LeGros, Director of the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research. He believes they offer “huge therapeutic potential.” For example, “Inflammatory and autoimmune diseases are characterized by an overactive immune system, so subduing this response is an obvious line of treatment” reports LeGros.
The Institute is seeking up to 15 Wellington-based volunteers aged between 18-65 years for the trial, who will be infected with a low, safe dose of Necator americanus larvae, and studied over the course of a year. The participants will be compensated.
The study will focus on healthy individuals with no pre-existing autoimmune or allergic disorders to establish the baseline controls for future trials.
Graham LeGros, Director of the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research
About Malaghan Institute of Medical Research
Malaghan Institute is an independent biomedical research institute associated with the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.
It specializes in the immune system, and how it can be harnessed for the treatment of diseases such as cancer, asthma, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, and infectious disease. It also researchers gut immunology. About half of its activities are directed at cancer research.
The current director is Professor Graham LeGros.