Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Hope for Chagas Disease Treatment

01.04.2005


Chagas disease, which is transmitted to humans by a blood-sucking insect known as an Assassin bug, is the most devastating parasitic infection in Central and South America and Mexico. The protozoan parasite that causes the disease, Trypanosoma cruzi, infects 16 to 18 million people, causing severe chronic illness and tens of thousands of deaths per year.



Until now, there has been no effective treatment for the long-term, chronic form of Chagas disease, which kills up to one-third of those infected, usually by heart failure. However, two Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) international research scholars have now found that in mice, a compound called TAK-187 is significantly more effective than the current standard of care - the drug benznidazole - in preventing T. cruzi-induced cardiac damage. Julio Urbina from the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research, Miguel Angel Basombrio from the National University of Salta, and colleagues report their findings in an early online publication of the April issue of the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

“Only one percent of the new drugs introduced to the market in the last 25 years were developed to treat tropical diseases, despite the enormous unmet need for such compounds.”
Julio Urbina



Benznidazole, a drug used to treat acute, recent Chagas infections, often has toxic side effects and does not work once the disease has entered its chronic phase. As an alternative, Urbina, Basombrio, and colleagues tested TAK-187, a compound that prevents T.cruzi from producing a member of the steroid family called ergosterol, which is essential to the parasite’s life cycle. The compound is currently in development as a systemic antifungal agent, but the results of the current study suggest that drugs of this type, which inhibit ergosterol synthesis, could be a “superior alternative to currently available therapy in the management of chronic Chagas disease,” Urbina and Basombrio write in their report.

The scientists infected a group of mice with T.cruzi, then treated those mice with either TAK-187, benznidazole, or nothing at all. While both drugs eliminated T.cruzi from the blood of infected animals, the researchers found that TAK-187 was more effective at preventing cardiac and skeletal inflammation and tissue damage, with no toxic side effects. Cardiac and skeletal damage occur in chronic Chagas infection, causing crippling and death.

Importantly, TAK-187 was effective at a dose that was both 10 times lower and administered less frequently than that of benznidazole. The researchers think this may be because the new compound is eliminated more slowly than benznidazole from the treated animals and is also more resistant to metabolism by the mammalian host.

The latest study confirms results published in 2003 by Urbina and colleagues in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, when they found TAK-187 effective against drug-resistant strains of T.cruzi.

“These results, together with the previous publication, are very promising,” said Roberto Docampo, a professor at the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases at University of Georgia. “The results strongly support the view that a more efficient treatment for Chagas disease could be available.” But Louis Kirchhoff, a professor at University of Iowa, questions whether the drug is effective enough. “TAK-187 suppresses T-cruzi,” he said. “What we are looking for is a compound that wipes out the parasite.”

Urbina and colleagues now plan clinical trials to determine the safety and efficacy of TAK-187 in patients with Chagas disease. “We must now examine the safety and effectiveness of therapeutic doses of this drug and determine the optimal administration schedule, the treatment duration, and its possible combination with other drugs,” said Basombrio, who started studying the disease 28 years ago because it is so prevalent in his homeland of Argentina.

Takeda Chemical Company, the largest pharmaceutical manufacturer in Japan, has patented TAK-187 as a systemic antifungal agent. “The clinical development of this compound as an anti-T-cruzi agent in humans will depend on legal and economic agreements with Takeda, which are being sought through the World Health Organization,” said Urbina.

The Venezuelan started doing basic research on Chagas disease 25 years ago, concerned by the neglect of this tropical disease by the pharmaceutical industry and most academic research centers in Latin America and throughout the world. “Only one percent of the new drugs introduced to the market in the last 25 years were developed to treat tropical diseases, despite the enormous unmet need for such compounds,” he said. “Only 10 percent of current global health research is directed to address the medical needs of 90 percent of the human population.”

Jennifer Donovan | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.hhmi.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

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: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>