Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Modified bone drug kills malaria parasite in mice

A chemically altered osteoporosis drug may be useful in fighting malaria, researchers report in a new study.

Unlike similar compounds tested against many other parasitic protozoa, the drug readily crosses into the red blood cells of malaria-infected mice and kills the malaria parasite. The drug works at very low concentrations with no observed toxicity to the mouse.

The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The researchers found the drug by screening a library of about 1,000 compounds used in previous efforts to target an important biochemical pathway (called isoprenoid biosynthesis) in cancer and in disease-causing organisms. The new drug lead, BPH-703, inhibits a key enzyme in isoprenoid biosynthesis that enables the malaria parasite to sustain itself and defend itself from the host immune system. The drug has little effect on the same chemical pathway in human or mouse cells, said University of Illinois chemistry professor Eric Oldfield, who led the study.
The lead compounds are chemically modified forms of the osteoporosis drugs Actonel (Risedronate) and Zometa (Zoledronate), Oldfield said. Risedronate and Zoledronate potently block isoprenoid biosynthesis, but are unable to get across the membrane of red blood cells to get to the parasite. The modified forms include a long lipid tail that helps them pass through the lipid-rich membrane of red blood cells, and also enhances the drug’s ability to bind to the target enzyme, geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthase (GGPPS), he said.

“We found that compounds that were really active had a very long hydrocarbon chain,” Oldfield said. “These compounds can cross the cell membrane and work at very low concentrations.”

The World Health Organization estimates that malaria killed 708,000 to 1.003 million people in 2008, most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. The malaria parasite has evolved resistance to nearly every drug used so far to combat it, and while some of these drugs still work – especially when used in combination – drug-resistant malaria strains are always emerging.

“It’s important to find new drug targets because malaria drugs last only a few years, maybe 10 years, before you start to get resistance,” Oldfield said. “The parasites mutate and then you lose your malaria drug.”

“We are the first to show that the enzyme GGPPS is a valid target for malaria,” said study co-author Yonghui Zhang, a research scientist in Oldfield’s lab and inventor of the lead compound, BPH-703. “Our work gives a new direction to find new antimalarial drugs.”

Editor’s notes: To reach Eric Oldfield, call: 217-333-3374;
The paper, “Lipophilic analogs of zoledronate and risedronate inhibit Plasmodium GGPPS and exhibit potent anti-malarial activity,” is available from the U. of I. News Bureau.

Diana Yates | University of Illinois
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>