A New Medical Treatment Involving Bug Larvae Is The New Frontier Of Gross


If you have a nasty abscess or lesion on your body, odds are pretty good you’ve discovered doctors treat it with maggots. Despite how nauseating that sounds, your doctor knows what he’s doing. The larvae of the green bottle fly eat dead tissue but ignore living cells, and they even generate anti-microbial compounds that keep wounds clear of nasty microbes. So, how could they be more useful and yet more gross at the same time? By genetically engineering them to poop medicine!

A team at North Carolina State University genetically engineered the maggots to secrete human platelet derived growth factor-BB, which stimulates repair of wounds. It came out in their, uh, “excretions” provided there was no tetracycline in their diet. They have yet to be tested on actual wounds, but the research team is hopeful that this will both clean the wound and more quickly heal it. That just leaves the doctor with the job of explaining what the heck is going on, which will hopefully omit the words “maggot poop.”

Granted, the idea of a doctor putting a maggot in your wound to eat away the dead flesh while pooping in it sounds like a bad horror movie. But provided these little guys test well in the field, the potential is enormous. And besides, there are far worse, uh, “interactions” bugs can have with your body.

(Via Gizmodo)