Since the parasite constantly changes its surface, it can avoid the immune defense of humans and invade the central nervous system, which leads to personality disturbances, sleep disruptions, and ultimately death. For patients affected by a severe T brucei infection in the central nervous system, there are no medicines that can treat both subspecies without incurring extremely serious side effects.
In a project directed by Professor Lars Thelander, scientists have previously discovered that the parasites' CTP synthetase, an enzyme responsible for the production of CTP-one of the four building blocks for mRNA synthesis, a process that is critical for the survival of the parasite-should be a key target for treating the disease.
In the current publication scientists have managed to show that the proper content of acivicin, a well-known cell toxin that has previously been used as a cancer drug, can inhibit the parasite's CTP synthetase, thereby permanently killing the trypanosomes in cell cultures. With daily doses of acivicin, trypanosome-infected mice have also been kept free of symptoms, as opposed to untreated mice that died within a few days.
"The advantage of acivicin is that it has already been used on humans. All the clinical studies have been performed, and we know that the drug can penetrate the central nervous system, which is not the case with many other medicines for trypanosomes. What's more, it can be taken in tablet form, which is extremely important in countries with limited health-care resources," says Artur Fijolek, co-author of the article.
The research team at the Umeå University Department of Medical Chemistry and Biophysics hopes soon to be able to find the appropriate dosage of acivicin that can permanently cure the infected mice.
"Expression, Purification, Characterization and in Vivo Targeting of Trypanosome CTP Synthetase for Treatment of African Sleeping Sickness," Artur Fijolek, Anders Hofer, and Lars Thelander. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol. 282, No. 16. pp. 11858-11865, April 20, 2007.
For more information, please contact Artur Fijolek at e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: +46 (0)90-786 52 63 or Lars Thelander at e-mail email@example.com or phone: +46 (0)90-786 67 42.
Bertil Born | idw
More genes are active in high-performance maize
19.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
How plants see light
19.01.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine
19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy