Interesting article about the UK hookworm trial and B cells.
Out of the shadows: our unknown immune system
New Scientist -- DELIBERATE infection with a blood-sucking worm seems an odd way to treat multiple sclerosis (MS). Yet more surprising is what this experiment may tell us about a "shadow" branch of our immune system. Completely unknown until recently, this is pointing to new ways of treating a host of complex diseases.
A couple of recent studies suggest that parasitic infection dampens inflammation and reduces relapse rates in people with MS, in which the body's own cells are attacked by the immune system as if they were "foreign". So Cris Constantinescu at the University of Nottingham, UK, and his colleagues plan to place tiny hookworm larvae on the skin of 32 people with MS, allowing the worms to burrow down and infect the volunteers.
The team won't just be looking for a reduction in volunteers' symptoms though. They will also be watching to see if the parasites boost numbers of a set of newly discovered immune cells, known as regulatory B cells (B regs).
for the rest of the article:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg2 ... ystem.html