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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 964350, 14 pages
Review Article

Harnessing the Helminth Secretome for Therapeutic Immunomodulators

1Department of Molecular Physiology, Westfälische Wilhelms-University Münster, Schlossplatz 8, 48143 Münster, Germany
2Unit for Drug Discovery, Department of Parasitology, Institute of Biomedical Science, University of São Paulo, 1374 Prof. Lineu Prestes Avenue, 05508-000 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
3Bernhard-Nocht-Institute, Bernhard-Nocht-Straße 74, 20259 Hamburg, Germany

Received 14 February 2014; Revised 28 May 2014; Accepted 29 May 2014; Published 15 July 2014

Academic Editor: Nongyao Sawangjaroen

Copyright © 2014 Dana Ditgen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Helminths are the largest and most complex pathogens to invade and live within the human body. Since they are not able to outpace the immune system by rapid antigen variation or faster cell division or retreat into protective niches not accessible to immune effector mechanisms, their long-term survival depends on influencing and regulating the immune responses away from the mode of action most damaging to them. Immunologists have focused on the excretory and secretory products that are released by the helminths, since they can change the host environment by modulating the immune system. Here we give a brief overview of the helminth-associated immune response and the currently available helminth secretome data. We introduce some major secretome-derived immunomodulatory molecules and describe their potential mode of action. Finally, the applicability of helminth-derived therapeutic proteins in the treatment of allergic and autoimmune inflammatory disease is discussed.