Dr Tom Mules

Hookworms to heal - RNZ

06 May 2021, Allergies, Hookworm, Parasites

Human hookworms show a remarkable ability to dampen down aggressive immune responses, offering an exciting potential for treating autoimmune or inflammatory diseases.

The Malaghan Institute's hookworm clinical therapy programme aims to explore the therapeutic benefits of the human hookworm necator americanus. This Health Research Council funded programme involves infecting volunteers with a controlled dose of hookworm, and monitoring how they affect their hosts' health and immune profile. The study has since moved onto working with patients with ulcerative colitis, with plans to expand the programme further in the future.

Malaghan Institute clinical consultant Dr Tom Mules, a gastroenterologist in the Wellington region who is working on the hookworm programme, sat down with RNZ to discuss the wider programme and our motivations for conducting this study.