WARF: P140283US01

Combatting Parasitic Worms in Livestock and Other Animals


Mark Cook, Daniel Schaefer, Mitchell Schaefer, Jordan Sand, Larry Smith

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a method to fight gastrointestinal infections in cattle, poultry, pets and even humans using interleukin-10 peptides and antibodies.
OVERVIEWThe United States cattle industry includes about 40 million beef and dairy cows. At some point in their lives the majority of calves will graze and be exposed to parasitic worms known as helminthes. Worm-related diseases are a rife and costly problem in livestock, causing weight loss, gastrointestinal damage and often death.

Current therapies (e.g., de-wormers) have limited effect because the parasites have developed resistance. Haemonchus, or barber’s pole worm, is one devastating species that infects the digestive system and resists worm-killing drugs.

Parasitic worms pose a major hazard to human health as well, causing malnutrition and suffering in underdeveloped nations.
THE INVENTIONUW–Madison researchers have developed a method for treating gastrointestinal worm infections in animals and humans by administering interleukin-10 (IL-10) peptides and antibodies. IL-10 is a natural feed additive that can be ingested. Critically, helminthes have no known mechanism to develop resistance.
  • Demonstrated improvements in cattle weight gain correlates to a value of $21 per animal, or $525,000,000 if complete adoption within the industry.
  • Controlling parasitic worm infections in herbivorous mammals, including bovines, horses, free-range poultry, swine, dogs and cats
  • Potential human usage
  • Treatment increases weight gain and feed efficiency.
  • Effective for parasitic worms that have developed resistance to other agents
  • Also helps protect against protozoa and bacteria
  • Limited side effects
  • Cheaper and easier to administer
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENTCalves fed the IL-10 antibodies and exposed to parasitic worms, including Haemonchus, showed a 10 percent improvement in average daily weight gain and reduced egg shedding.

The development of this technology was supported by WARF Accelerator. WARF Accelerator selects WARF's most commercially promising technologies and provides expert assistance and funding to enable achievement of commercially significant milestones. WARF believes that these technologies are especially attractive opportunities for licensing.
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Emily Bauer at or 608-960-9842.
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