Worm Therapy

What is worm therapy?

Worm therapy or helminth induced immune modulation consists of using a complete organism to treat an imbalance of the immune system. Depending upon the organism you are using the worms travel to a specific region of the intestinal tract and modulates immune function via regulatory immune cells. The exact mechanism is unknown but involves both the worms and the bacteria that live in the intestinal tract. The combination of restored immune balance and a more evolutionarily “normal” ecosystem works to dampen inappropriate inflammation.

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How does the process work?

You will be asked to fill out a pre-treatment questionnaire and provide results to some tests to determine if you have any conditions that would exclude you as a candidate. If you are accepted as a client you will be scheduled for treatment. After you have made an appointment with our doctor you will be given some instructions to prepare you for your trip. We will meet you in San Diego and escort you to our clinic. When you get to the clinic you will have to read and sign a client agreement. The doctor will take a detailed history and perform a physical examination. If you qualify for treatment you will be given a dose of intestinal worms and instructions for their care. Since, it is possible that some susceptible individuals may develop an allergic reaction you are required to stay at the clinic for an hour post inoculation for observation. Once you are assessed by the doctor you will be given a prescription for the medicine to terminate the therapy. The entire process takes less than a day.

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Do I have to go to Mexico?

Yes, the laws are very restrictive in this regard. The FDA has ruled that intestinal worms used to regulate the immune system are a drug (http:// www.accessdata.fda.gov/cms_ia/importalert_159.html). Any drug that has not passed the FDA's review process without an IND is an experimental and therefore illegal drug in the United States. The FDA allows, via the personal import policy, for patients in which there is no comparable therapy to import a drug started under the direction of a physician in a foreign country for personal use. It should be noted that the FDA reserves the right to change this policy at any time. The personal import policy is not a right or law but rather an enforcement reprioritization. Should they change their mind they can do so without notice.

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I have heard bad things about medical treatments in Mexico.

´┐╝Most of what has been reported in the American press is accurate if not prone to hyperbole. There are good clinics and bad clinics. Like all unregulated markets the burden is on you to do your research. Talk to patients who have received treatment. Read the literature so you understand the risk to reward equation and involve your doctor. If your doctor does not want to help then consult another doctor. Traveling to a foreign country to receive medical therapy is becoming a more common occurrence for Americans but it requires a different skill set than simply opening the yellow pages or doing a Google search. You are entrusting your health and well-being to a company/ clinic/doctor make sure that trust is deserved.

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Can you ship organisms to me?

No. Unfortunately, the FDA considers these organisms an unapproved pharmaceutical. Another company attempted to ship in the U.S. and was shut down by the FDA. Our goal is to be working with these organisms and our clients for a long time.

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How long until the worms work?

That is a difficult question to answer that depends on many different variables. For each therapy there is a unique response time and for each condition they treat there is a unique response time. Moreover, there is the possibility that you will not respond to the therapy in any timeframe. The use of the intestinal worms is typically not a short term solution. In the case of allergies there are reports of improvement in a couple weeks to a few months, however most conditions require a significantly longer period for therapeutic benefit. For instance, in the case of Crohn's we expect to see improvement between three months and a year. More difficult cases requiring more conservative dosing could take even longer. It is also important to be realistic about your expectations. If you suffer from a condition that results in scarring then there is nothing we can do to reverse the scarred tissues. The worms work by reducing and in some cases stopping the inflammation reaction. This is defined as a reduction of symptoms or remission. It is not a cure. Anyone who claims to be able to cure you using this therapy is someone you should stay away from.

What this therapy does is recalibrate the immune system. Ideally, you want to start the therapy before the disease process starts; that is, scarring or activation of the immune system to self. This is not possible for most people who are considering the introduction of intestinal worms, so we are faced with the more difficult task of retraining a malfunctioning immune system and this takes time. Worm therapy can provide relief but you have to be realistic about the level of this relief. You did not develop your disease overnight and neither should you expect worms to make you better overnight.

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Will I get worse before I get better?

You can. The worm antigens can be potent stimulators of the immune system. Their addition to an already over-reacting system can make things temporarily worse. It is not uncommon to experience what is known as the "worm flu". This is a period of fatigue and generalized inflammation. These symptoms usually resolve in a couple months. Needless to say it is very important to have the assistance of your physician monitoring your symptoms and being prepared to terminate therapy should you experience any adverse events.

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How long do the worms last?

That depends on the worm you use and how permissive a host you are. In the case of hookworm you can expect the therapeutic benefit to last between one to two years. For whipworm you should anticipate re-dosing every six to twelve months.

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How do I know it will work?

We are many years from being able to determine who will respond and who will not prior to treatment. This is an experimental therapy and one of the consequences of a new technology is a degree of uncertainty. The initial studies have been very encouraging with regard to efficacy, but it is important to understand that there are many things that are simply unknown. One of those unknowns is the markers for responders vs. non-responders.

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Is it safe?

This is a more difficult question to answer than it may appear. It is widely accepted that more than a billion people harbor active hookworm infections on the planet. As many as 8 million have tapeworm infections. It is also presumed that a majority of them are asymptomatic. It is argued by some that this means safety is well established for these organisms at the dosage used for therapy. We strongly disagree with this idea. The re-introduction of worms into an already dysfunctional immune system is fraught with dangers known and unknown. While we can take steps to mitigate the risks that are known there is little we can do for those risks unknown. It is of the utmost importance that you read the known risks and take additional time to factor in the unknown risks before you make a decision to try an experimental therapy.

We would like to take a moment to discuss hookworm specifically. This is an organism that uses a human host and though there are animal surrogates these surrogates run the risk of attenuating the organism or transmission of zoonotic disease. Thus, we use human hosts. This means that the organism that is crawling through your skin and into your bloodstream is only a few weeks removed from developing in the ovaries of its parent organism that feeds on the blood of another human. We can use hosts that are tested for blood borne pathogens but there are mechanisms of vertical transovary transmission that may exist. This type of transmission of disease has not been reported in the literature and our human reservoirs undergo routine testing to mitigate the risk of co-infection. Bottom line: do your research.

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What if I change my mind?

If you change your mind prior to treatment you will be given a refund minus 20% which is a non-refundable fee to cover our costs. Successful inoculations are non-refundable.

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What if I lose my worms due to surgery or medication?

We will provide the worms for re-inoculate free of charge. You will still be responsible for the cost of an office visit to our clinic and any other travel or ancillary costs. Needless to say, it is very important to be careful with your worms.

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What medicines or surgeries are dangerous to my worms?

Before you book your appointment we will discuss what surgical or pharmaceutical interventions can jeopardize your worms. After treatment you will be given follow up information that will help you avoid medications that can cause you to unintentionally eliminate your worms. Should a surgical procedure be unavoidable during your treatment we will provide you with an anesthesia record that will give your organisms the best possible chance of survival.

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What if I want to get rid of my worms?

There are highly effective medications for each worm. You will be given a prescription for the appropriate medicine and should you need to or want to terminate your therapy you will be able to do so.

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What conditions preclude me from using this therapy?

The worms can temporarily make your symptoms worse so individual with conditions such as severe strictures are not treatable. Also the worms use a trick to suppress the immune system that is similar to a mechanism that certain types of tumors use to evade the immune system. Therefore, we do not treat individuals with a history or who have been diagnosed with cancer. With regard to hookworm any of the bleeding disorders including anemia are grounds for exclusion. Since, this therapy is so new we do not know the effects on the fetus so we do not treat women who are pregnant.

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If there are any question you have that we have failed to address, do not hesitate to contact us.

 

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