Tropical warms have infected millions of people around the world. It shouldn’t be surprising to know that that majority of these victims belong to poor countries, and are kept poor by the outcomes of malnourishment caused by worms. What might be surprising for many is that worms are the leading cause of cancers in those poor countries?
A special article was published in ‘Frontiers in Medicine’ which aimed to spread awareness regarding precautionary measures and treatment for cancer caused by worms.
Helminths cover more than a million warm species. The particular characteristic that groups them is ‘parasitism’. Doctor Monica Botelho shed light on this: “Helminths take many forms, but all of them harm their host in some way. In humans, they can live in the intestinal tract, urinary tract or bloodstream, causing a variety of illness from malnutrition to organ failure.”
For decades scientists have been aware of the fact that helminths have the capability of turning human cells into cancers.
Meanwhile, scientists have known for decades that helminths can turn human cells into cancers. Botelho further added on this: “Three species of helminth are classified as class 1 carcinogens by the WHO. These are all designated trematodes – after the Latin name for the grisly feeding cavity with which they latch onto their host’s insides.”
There are certain worms that provide protection to hosts from cancer. Botelho also stated: “Many parasites, including some helminths like the liver fluke Fasciola hepatica, inhibit cancer growth in vitro. Another of these – the ominously named ‘hyper tapeworm’ – is associated with a significantly lower rate of cancer in human hosts. In fact, there is evidence that proteins produced by hyper tapeworms as well as F. hepatica not only kill cancer cells directly – but might also enhance their host’s immune response to tumors. Even cancer-promoting fluke proteins might be repurposed as treatments for other conditions: for example, those that promote new blood vessel growth could help resolve chronic non-healing wounds in diabetics, tobacco users, and the elderly.”