Interleukin-5 – a better option than worms?

An interesting piece of research has just been reported on.  The research, undertaken by a team, led by Dr Suzanne Hodgkinson from the University of New South Wales in Australia has found that injecting interleukin-5 into rats with Guillain-Barre syndrome (an autoimmune disease) makes them recover much more quickly, and if given as a preventative measure, ensured they did not fall ill.  It seems that this treatment may also be effective in other autoimmune conditions (Birdshot is an autoimmune disease – perhaps it will work for us?).

The exciting thing about this kind of treatment is that it works by increasing the amount of ‘good’ cells.  Much of our current treatment relies on trying to suppress our ‘bad’ cells.

Even more interestingly, you may remember that we posted about a promising (although rather off-putting) treatment called helminthic therapy.  This therapy involves worms which change your immune response and helminthic therapy is currently being trialled on several different kinds of autoimmune diseases.  When you have an helminthic infestation, your immune system responds by increasing the production of eosinophils which make the cytokine interleukin-5.

Dr Suzanne Hodgkinson says ‘ In this new treatment, it’s a matter of injecting the interleukin-5 and the body does the rest.  It’s both safe and effective and we think inducing the immune response by injection may be more attractive to people than swallowing parasitic worms’.

We say, please hurry up and start trialling this on us Birdshotters!  Anything to avoid worms!!

Read the full article at

2 thoughts on “Interleukin-5 – a better option than worms?

  1. Hi Dyana

    Human trials should be starting in 2 to 5 years. We also have a group of scientific advisors to BUS who are currently evaluating the research already conducted into interleukin 5 to see if they can make use of it. fingers crossed!


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