The Return of the Leech?

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: Nov 14, 2010 12:28 PM
Scientists are now promoting the use of leeches and maggots to cure maladies like Crohn's disease, severe allergies, or irritable bowel syndrome. Previously, these types of parasites were only used to assist with amputations and severe wounds.

The new ways of using these slugs, called "helmetic therapy," involves placing the live organism inside a human being, where it develops into type of symbiotic relationship with the host. Scientists say it's less of a "parasite" and more like a complement to our existing biological processes. Here's Tufts University scientist Joel Weinstock speaking to Discovery News:
Many of these worms are bio-engineered for humans...We adapt to them; they adapt to us. It becomes like an organ, just like your heart, your spleen or your liver.
The Los Angeles for the International Conference on Biotherapy this weeks promises to highlight some of these new slimy developments.