Repurposing compounds for Neurocysticercosis drug discovery

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The assays for screening compounds against Taenia crassiceps and T. solium, the causative agents of neurocysticercosis, are laborious and time-intensive. Drs. Nash and Mahanty at the NIH were interested in screening compounds that had already been pre-screened against schistosomiasis, in an effort to capitalize on the homology between the parasites that cause neurocysticercosis and schistosomiasis. BVGH connected the NIH investigators with Dr. Caffrey, who had identified compounds with promising activity against Schistosoma from a screen of cathepsin protease inhibitors. Dr. Caffrey shared these inhibitors with Drs. Nash and Mahanty, who screened them against T. crassiceps in vitro using biochemical assays for evidence of damage to parasites.