Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A safer treatment could be realized for millions suffering from parasite infection

15.04.2011
A safer and more effective treatment for 10 million people in developing countries who suffer from infections caused by trypanosome parasites could become a reality thanks to new research from Queen Mary, University of London published today (15 April).

Scientists have uncovered the mechanisms behind a drug used to treat African sleeping sickness and Chagas disease, infections caused by trypanosome parasites which result in 60,000 deaths each year.

The study, appearing in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, investigated how the drug nifurtimox works to kill off the trypanosome.

Co-author of the study, Dr Shane Wilkinson from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, said: "Hopefully our research will lead to the development of anti-parasitic medicines which have fewer side effects than nifurtimox and are more effective.

"What we've found is that an enzyme within the parasites carries out the process nifurtimox needs to be converted to a toxic form. This produces a breakdown product which kills the parasite.

"This mechanism overturns the long-held belief that nifurtimox worked against the parasites by inducing oxidative stress in cells."

Nifurtimox has been used for more than 40 years to treat Chagas disease (also known as American trypanosomiasis) and has recently been recommended for use as part of a nifurtimox-eflornithine combination therapy for African sleeping sickness (also called human African trypanosomiasis).

Dr Wilkinson and his colleagues Dr Belinda Hall and Mr Christopher Bot from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences focused their research on the characterisation of the breakdown product from nifurtimox.

"The backbone of nifurtimox contains a chemical group called a nitro linked to a ring structure called a furan," Dr Wilkinson explained.

"When the parasite enzyme discussed in the paper reacts with nifurtimox, it converts the nitro group to a derivative called hydroxylamine. The change effectively acts as a switch causing a redistribution of electrons within the compounds chemical backbone."

"The upshot of this redistribution of electrons causes a specific chemical bond in furan ring to break resulting in formation of a toxic product (called an unsaturated open chain nitrile).

"Understanding how nifurtimox kills trypanosomes may generate new and safer compounds which utilise the bioreductive activity of this parasitic enzyme."

Bridget Dempsey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.qmul.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Two Group A Streptococcus genes linked to 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections
25.09.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>