The key to free from the annoying symptoms of celiac disease, an autoimmune disease of the small intestine caused by a reaction to a gluten protein, potra 'come from the secretions of a parasite of the intestine, a hookworm common in the third world. In a joint research of the University 'James Cook and Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane, the larvae of the nematode Necator americanus were artificially inoculated in a sample of patients. In the trial, patients with celiac disease infected dall'anchilostoma have become "quite tolerant" to gluten. The results of the first tests are very encouraging, and others are scheduled for early next year - says the head of research, the gastroenterologist John Croese, in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. It now remains to see which components cause the desired reaction. "We are studying in a particular molecule, but there are probably many different components of the secretion of nematode that manipulate the immune system," writes Croese. "The next generation of drugs to treat autoimmune diseases may 'be contained in the secretions of the parasites." When patients eat foods containing gluten, found in wheat and other grains, gliadin causes an immune reaction and thus inappropriate inflammation, which interferes with the absorption of nutrients. Symptoms include chronic diarrhea, fatigue and failure to thrive in children.