Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New system to lead to safer drugs for tropical disease Leishmaniasis

04.10.2007
The fight against the deadly tropical disease Leishmaniasis, also known as black fever, has been boosted by scientists at the University of Durham, whose new screening system has raised the possibility of new, safer drugs. The work is highlighted in the quarterly magazine of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) this week.

Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease found largely in the tropics which the World Health Organisation has estimated infects 12 million people worldwide each year. In the tropical regions Leishmaniasis is transmitted by sandflies but more recently cases have been reported in Europe among intravenous drug users with HIV. The parasite is a protozoan, a single-celled microbe, which causes symptoms ranging from skin sores to a swollen spleen or liver. If not treated, the more damaging forms of the disease can lead to death.

Many drugs against these types of parasites have toxic side effects, and can result in the death of one in ten patients. Development of safe treatments has been hampered up by the similarity between the biochemical processes of the pathogen and its human host.

However, researchers at Durham University have now developed a screening system to provide new insight into the biochemical processes at play. As a result they have identified and characterised a key enzyme which helps produce an essential cell component of protozoa called a 'complex sphingolipid', plus an inhibitor which specifically acts against this enzyme. The team have recently filed a patent for the system, which could be used in the search for non-toxic anti-protozoan drugs.

... more about:
»Disease »Leishmaniasis »enzyme »protozoa »tropical

Dr Paul Denny, research leader, explains: "Identifying both the enzyme responsible for the complex sphingolipid component of protozoa plus the inhibitor which acts against this enzyme is very significant. It has marked implications in the search for anti-protozoan drugs with reduced side-effects, as knowing how to block this enzyme could prevent the production of the complex sphingolipid and thus prevent the protozoa from establishing infection.

"Potentially we can rapidly screen thousands of compounds for inhibitory effects against this enzyme. It provides a much quicker means of identifying inhibitors with the potential for drug development than is standardly used.

"Our next step is to understand the structure and mechanism of this enzyme to help inform rational drug design."

The research is supported by BBSRC. Prof Nigel Brown, BBSRC Director of Science and Technology commented: "Leishmaniasis is an extremely damaging disease which threatens 350 million people in 88 countries around the world. This research demonstrates how important fundamental bioscience research is to developing life-saving pharmaceuticals, and should provide hope to people in affected regions."

Michelle Kilfoyle | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

Further reports about: Disease Leishmaniasis enzyme protozoa tropical

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Tag it EASI – a new method for accurate protein analysis
20.06.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

nachricht How to track and trace a protein: Nanosensors monitor intracellular deliveries
19.06.2018 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Creating a new composite fuel for new-generation fast reactors

20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Game-changing finding pushes 3D-printing to the molecular limit

20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Could this material enable autonomous vehicles to come to market sooner?

20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>