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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.
In 2019, malaria caused an estimated 229 million clinical episodes and 409,000 deaths. As development of resistance to existing drugs is one of the greatest threats to malaria control, it is critical that new potential therapeutics be developed. Dr. Tomoyoshi Nozaki, Professor at the Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, is working toward the discovery and development of novel potential treatments for malaria. To support Dr. Nozaki’s drug discovery research, Pfizer Inc. has agreed to provide certain compounds that may inhibit selected targets.
Schistosomiasis affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, mostly in the world’s poorest countries. Praziquantel (PZQ) is the only medication currently used in mass drug administration programs, raising the risk of drug resistance. There is a critical need to develop new therapeutics that target essential pathways that are not affected by PZQ. Dr. Emmanuel Oluwadare Balogun at Ahmadu Bello University will screen the Open Global Health
Library of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany to identify antischistosomal compounds with novel mechanisms of action.
Schistosomiasis affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, mostly in the world’s poorest countries. Praziquantel (PZQ) is the only medication currently used in mass drug administration programs, raising the risk of drug resistance. There is a critical need to develop new therapeutics that target essential pathways that are not affected by PZQ. Prof. Fabrice Boyom at the University of Yaoundé I is interested in leveraging the therapeutic properties of local plants and other natural products to treat parasitic diseases. With support from Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Dr. Jennifer Keiser at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute will screen selected natural product extracts collected by Prof. Boyom for antischistosomal activity.
Severe dengue, known as dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome, is a leading cause of hospitalization and death in Asia and Latin America. There is no specific treatment for the disease. Dr. Tedjo Sasmono at the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology will screen the Open Global Health Library of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany to identify compounds that target pathways that are disrupted in severe dengue.