Biotherapy is the use of live animals to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Though most of us are familiar with biotherapeutic modalities like leech therapy or guide dogs (“seeing eye dogs”), a dozen other live animals and microbes are being used to treat ailments from acute infections to chronic wounds, from multiple sclerosis to cancer, from cerebral palsy to autism, from psoriasis to rheumatoid arthritis, even for chronic pain and palliative care. In this lecture, the world of biotherapy will be explored by focusing on some of the modalities that are nearing or have already achieved FDA marketing clearance: maggot therapy, leech therapy, bee venom therapy, phage therapy, and fecal microbiota transplants (FMT). For all of these treatments, efficacy can be optimized and adverse events can be minimized or avoided by understanding the biology of the therapeutic animal being used. Indications, contraindications, and adverse events will be covered, where appropriate.
- Participants will be able to define “biotherapy” in the context of this lecture.
- Participants will be able to identify at least 5 animals used in biotherapy.
- Participants will be able to identify at least 2 animals used in skin and wound care.
- Participants will be able to discuss: for chronic pain, when is it best to select leeches and when is it best to select bee venom?
- Participants will be able to identify at least 2 animals used in autoimmune diseases.