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 NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology
07.12.2016 | Nanyang Technological University

nachricht How to turn white fat brown
07.12.2016 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

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: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>