It is thought that Victorian dieters would swallow beef tapeworm cysts, usually in the form of a pill, based on the theory that the tapeworms would reach maturity in the intestines and absorb food.

Whilst this practice was rather misguided, it turns out that the Victorians may have been onto something.

The recent discovery that that intestinal worm infections can stimulate the formation of new B-cell follicles in lymph nodes (previously thought only to happen just after birth) suggests that it may be possible to exploit this new mechanism to produce new and innovative immune boosting therapies.

Perhaps we should be looking to other Victorian fads to inspire more innovations…


“EPFL scientists have unexpectedly discovered that lymph nodes also contain more immune cells when the host is infected with a more complex invader: an intestinal worm”