Autoimmune diseases are pretty strange conditions. Basically, your body is attacking itself. Why your body attacks itself is up for debate but one theory is that modern society is so clean and sanitary that our immune system – which evolved to help us over millions of years – has nothing to fight off so it gets confused and turns on itself. These are nasty long-term conditions without much if any medicine that promises a “cure”. Prednisone works very well for many (they even use it for organ transplants so your body doesn’t reject it) but taking it long term will cause premature aging and dissolve your bones, leaving you bedridden.
Radiolab has a great episode on this topic where a man with severe allergies and asthma intentionally infects himself with hookworm (by walking barefoot in the latrines of 30-40 African villages) in the hope for a cure. This Sept 2009 episode (which you can download from Radiolab here) is absolutely amazing but if you want to get to the story about the hookworms helping autoimmune diseases fast forward to the 33:00 mark.
Quite possibly the most entertaining radio program I have listened to and after you listen to it you can find out updates on the man’s cure and the business he is making out of it here. Reading the comments it appears that he is charging $2900 for the so-called “helminthic therapy” treatment but if you want to give it a try to cure your disease you are probably out of luck as he doesn’t do business with USA customers due to FDA regulations. Looks like you are going to have to take a trip to Africa and get your feet familiar with outdoor open pit toilets. You can still visit his website that sells the parasites though. Lots of info on there (including conspiracy theories involving the FDA and big business), apparently someone thinks it is even a possible cure for Autism.
I wish there was a way to donate directly to Radiolab, the shows they produce are very entertaining and informative and I send them a thousand thank-yous.
Enjoy, and good luck!
Edit: Thanks to comments from Don here are some more valuable resources:
A 2010 film on human parasites in general and in therapy, you can buy it for $10 if screenings aren’t available: Parasites: A User’s Guide and thier website has an awesome helminthic therapy resource section here.
An open source wiki with more info on parasites: Helminthic Therapy Open Source Wiki