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Controling Parasite That Kills, Eats Human Cells

Armen Hareyan's picture

A team of researchers at the University of Virginia Health System is helping to stop one of the world's most voracious parasites. Entamoeba histolytica, which causes inflammation of the colon (colitis), plays dirty. It attacks and kills human immune cells in seconds. Then this murderous marauder hides the evidence by eating the cells' corpses. While doing so, it kills nearly 100,000 people each year.

The UVa-led research team, directed by Dr. William Petri, hypothesized that identifying molecules involved in the corpse ingestion might provide insight into how the amebae cause colitis in children.