Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers reach milestone in fight against lymphatic filariasis

05.12.2002


Four annual mass treatments of single doses of safe and inexpensive drugs found effective



Researchers report in the December 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine reaching an important milestone in learning how to halt a major mosquito-borne disease affecting 120 million people around the world. The disease, called lymphatic filariasis and commonly known as elephantiasis, is a leading cause of physical disfigurement, social ostracism, and economic loss throughout Africa, Asia, South America, and islands of the Pacific Ocean. The disease can lead to dramatically swollen and disfigured legs, arms, breasts, and genitals.

Treating 2500 residents in a remote area of Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific, the researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, University Hospitals of Cleveland, and Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research found dramatic results with four annual mass treatments of single doses of safe and inexpensive anti-filarial (anti-worm) drugs. There was a greater than 95 percent decrease in mosquito transmission, nearly complete prevention of new infections in children, reduction of infection rates in the communities to less than one percent, and remarkably, cure of severe disease manifestations such as extremely enlarged arms and legs, and genital disfigurement. Combined with conclusions drawn from mathematical analysis of the interrelationships between the potentials of mosquito transmission and human infection, the report clearly sets the precedent that annual mass treatment with safe and inexpensive medications can go a long way toward eliminating this devastating disease.


James W. Kazura, M.D., the paper’s senior author, notes that this work represents an important milestone in the world-wide effort to combat filariasis. "Until this study, it was not clear that eradication and significant decreases in mosquito-borne transmission and disease severity could be realized even on a small scale." Kazura is a professor of medicine at CWRU and UHC.

Lymphatic filariasis is caused by microscopic juvenile parasitic worms that are transmitted to humans by mosquitoes containing these infective parasites. The juvenile parasites migrate from the site of the mosquito bite and ultimately develop into adult worms in the lymphatic system of the human host, where they cause the hallmark inflammation of filariasis. In many rural areas of Papua New Guinea, Africa, and India, nearly 10 percent of persons suffer from elephantiasis by adulthood, and large numbers of men develop such swelling of the scrotum that it can reach the size of a grapefruit. Transmission is continued in nature when the microscopic offspring of adult worms, called microfilariae, circulate in the bloodstream and are subsequently ingested by blood-feeding mosquitoes. After further development in the mosquito, the parasites are capable of infecting humans when the insect takes its next blood meal.

Building on more than 20 years of research and clinical investigations on filariasis, the project was conducted in Papua New Guinea, where transmission of filariasis and other serious infectious diseases such as malaria reach the highest levels seen anywhere in the world.

"Performance of a study in this setting to determine whether inexpensive and safe medications could decrease transmission of filariasis and control its clinical outcomes represents an extraordinarily tough test or ’proof of principle’ of the Global Plan to Eradicate Lymphatic Filariasis," says Kazura. "This plan, officially launched by the World Health Assembly in Geneva in 1997, states that filariasis is one of six diseases that is potentially eradicable. The target date to achieve this goal at a global level has been set at 2020. With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other non-governmental philanthropic organizations, administration by the Global Alliance through the Carter Center in Atlanta and World Health Organization, and donation of anti-filarial drugs by GlaxoSmithKline and Merck Pharmaceuticals, the infrastructure to implement the control plan in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Pacific island nations has been growing over the past several years.

"This study provides essential guidelines to control this infectious disease and points the way to the ultimate eradication of filariasis on a global level," says Kazura.

"The work also poses interesting and challenging new research questions that should enable the testing of new hypotheses on how genetics and immunity determine infection susceptibility in humans and contribute to the development and ultimately prevention of lymphatic disease," he says.

An accompanying editorial written by Eric A. Ottesen, M.D., of Emory University, says this study has yielded important conclusions. "It should serve as a touchstone for future evaluations of other programs, both inside and outside the research community," it states.

George Stamatis | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cwru.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism
19.01.2018 | Weill Cornell Medicine

nachricht Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

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...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

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...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

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...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>