Maggots as Medicine?

Larval (aka maggot) therapy has been revived for the 21st century in a clinical trial conducted at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville, FL for patients with chronic diabetic foot ulcers. Patients and clinicians may cringe at maggots as medicine, but the medicinal larvae are approved and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as medical devices and have been sterilized in a pharmaceutical-grade lab. In this study, 128 veterans will receive either larval therapy or standard of care for eight days and outcomes on wound healing will be evaluated. The larvae in this research do not bite or chew, but instead secrete enzymes that turn dead or sick tissue into liquid that they take in for nutrition. They also disinfect wounds secreting antimicrobial molecules that kill certain bacteria, by digesting microbes within their gut, and by dissolving biofilm in chronic wounds.

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