Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Parasite whips up ideas for bowel cancer treatments

17.06.2005


A study of how the body expels parasitic worms has led to a surprising new discovery about the immune system that could help in the treatment of bowel cancer.



Scientists investigating whipworms, parasites that infect one-fifth of the world’s population as well as livestock and domestic animals, have discovered a new way that the body effectively eliminates the parasites.

The University of Manchester research, published in the US journal Science, found the reason why some hosts were able to expel the worms naturally without the need for treatment. “This is a completely new way in which the immune system controls disease and may lead scientists to look at new ideas in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases and even bowel cancer,” said Dr Laura Cliffe in the Faculty of Life Sciences, who carried out the research. “During our investigations we discovered that the immune system does more than what it currently says in the text books – it controls other physiological systems.


“The body naturally renews the lining of the gut every few days as cells rise to the surface and are discarded. The whipworm attaches itself to the lining and then must burrow faster than the rate of cell renewal in order to remain in the gut, similar to walking the wrong way down an escalator. “What we found is that hosts whose bodies generated a good allergic response to the worms were able to increase the rate of cell renewal in the intestine and force the parasites to the surface and out through the normal channels.

Human whipworm (trichuris trichiura) is a 3cm-to-5cm-long nematode or roundworm that gets its name from its whip-like shape. Once inside their host, adult worms produce eggs that are passed in the faeces and mature in the soil. If the eggs are ingested, they hatch in the large intestine where they can cause trichuriasis, a disease most common in warm, humid climates, including much of the developing world but also south-eastern United States.

Patients with mild infections may have few or no symptoms but, in cases of heavy infection, the patient may suffer abdominal cramps and symptoms resembling amoebic dysentery. In children, severe trichuriasis can be more serious, leading to anaemia, growth stunting and developmental problems. It may also influence the effectiveness of vaccines against diseases such as tuberculosis and how we cope with other infections such as malaria. “Nematodes are one of the most successful groups of animals on the planet, many exquisitely adapted to being parasites, and we have much to learn from them,” said Professor Richard Grencis, who leads the research team. “Once attached to the lining of the intestine, whipworm slows down the rate at which the host renews its cells allowing it to burrow further into the gut wall.

“We were able to counteract this by speeding up the cell ‘escalator’ artificially but some hosts we studied managed to do this naturally. It’s ultimately our genes that determine whether we make the right immune response.”

Aeron Haworth | alfa
Further information:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates
20.08.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum bugs, meet your new swatter

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates

20.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Metamolds: Molding a mold

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>