"Biotherapy" treats everything from irritable bowel disease to allergies with maggots, leeches and intestinal worms.
Advocates of "biotherapy," the use of animals as medical treatments, are meeting in Los Angeles.
Clinical practitioners have been reluctant to adopt these treatments, but supporters say the science is on their side.
Many parasites evolved alongside people and are essentially bio-engineered for humans.
Next time you feel sick to your stomach or suffer from severe hay fever, relief may come from swallowing a worm instead of reaching for the medicine cabinet.
Practitioners of "biotherapy" -- or the use of living animals to treat human ailments -- say science is beginning to back up their anecdotal claims that maggots, leeches and intestinal worms may be effective in the fight against everything from irritable bowel disease to allergies and psoriasis.
They're meeting this week in Los Angeles for the International Conference on Biotherapy to compare notes and strategize how to overcome the high gross-out factor that many patients and doctors have about these wiggling human parasites.