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Praziquantel has been the drug of choice for the treatment of schistosomiasis for over 40 years. However, it is effective only against adult worms, and the reliance on a single drug increases the risk that resistance will develop. New antischistosomals targeting multiple stages of the worms’ life cycle are needed. Dr. Conor Caffrey, Professor at the Center for Discovery and Innovation in Parasitic Diseases (CDIPD) and the Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California, San Diego, will investigate natural product derivatives synthesized by Dr. Peter Cheuka, Lecturer and Researcher in Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery at University of Zambia. The compounds will be tested against various developmental stages of Schistosoma mansoni at CDIPD to determine bioactivity and identify interesting scaffolds for further development.
Chagas disease, human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), and leishmaniasis are among the infectious diseases that disproportionately exact a heavy toll on people living in low- and middle-income countries. Dr. Marcelo Comini, Head of the Redox Biology of Trypanosomes Laboratory at the Institut Pasteur de Montevideo, works on the discovery of novel drugs targeting the pathogens responsible for these diseases. The Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Disease, which is contracted through the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (contract HHSN272201700059C), will investigate the crystal structure of three proteins identified by Dr. Comini to inform rational design of new treatments for Chagas disease, HAT, and leishmaniasis.