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 Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

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: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>