Albany Medical Center is joining a multi-center trial, testing the eggs of the pig parasite whipworm as a potential treatment for Crohn’s disease.
Crohn's is a severe and debilitating form of inflammatory bowel disease. For the trial, Crohn’s patients will ingest 7500 microscopic parasite eggs in a tablespoonful of salt water (called TSO suspension) every two weeks for 12 weeks. Another group will be given a placebo. In people, this special form of the parasite egg survives only about two weeks and does not cause infection.
A doctor explained that Crohn’soccurs mostly in hygienic Western industrialized countries and are very rare in developing countries where people are more likely to have been exposed to intestinal parasites during childhood. TSO medication meets FDA purity criteria of a pharmaceutical product.
Several clinical studies have shown that ingestion of live TSO has been well tolerated in humans, including a study conducted at the University of Iowa, supported in part by the National Institutes of Health.