Helminth infections are linked to lower rates of autoimmunity and allergy. Animal models have shown some benefit of live helminth infection on atopy, however clinical studies did not improve airway responsiveness.
Asthma and allergic diseases are mainly due to impairment in immune regulation allowing aberrant allergen-specific responses to develop. Helminths (parasitic worms) have been shown to promote immune regulatory processes (regulatory T cells).
Our goal is to determine how hookworm-secreted molecules modify immune function. This knowledge will allow us to develop better treatment to prevent and manage allergic and autoimmune diseases.