Malaria causes more than two million deaths each year, but an expert multinational team battling the global spread of drug-resistant parasites has made a breakthrough in the search for better treatment. Better understanding of the make-up of these parasites and the way they reproduce has enabled an international team, led by John Dalton, a biochemist in McGill's Institute of Parasitology, to identify a plan of attack for the development of urgently needed new treatments.
Malaria parasites live inside our red blood cells and feed on proteins, breaking them down so that they can use the proceeds (amino acids) as building blocks for their own proteins. When they have reached a sufficient size they divide and burst out of the red cell and enter another, repeating the process until severe disease or death occurs. Dalton and his colleagues found that certain "digestive enzymes" in the parasites enable them to undertake this process. Importantly, the researchers have also now determined the three-dimensional structures of two enzymes and demonstrated how drugs can be designed to disable the enzymes.
"By blocking the action of these critical parasite enzymes, we have shown that the parasites can no longer survive within the human red blood cell," Dalton explains. The discovery will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and is the result of collaboration including Australia's Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Monash University and the University of Western Sydney, Wroclaw University of Technology in Poland and the University of Virginia in the U.S. The team is putting their findings into action immediately and is already pursuing anti-malarial drug development.
On the Web:http://www.mcgill.ca/parasitology
How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism
19.01.2018 | Weill Cornell Medicine
Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center
Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.
Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...
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...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
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...
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...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
23.01.2018 | Life Sciences
23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences
23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy