Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New lead on malaria treatment

20.05.2009
Variation of natural compound cures malaria in mice

Approximately 350 million to 500 million cases of malaria are diagnosed each year mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. While medications to prevent and treat malaria do exist, the demand for new treatments is on the rise, in part, because malaria parasites have developed a resistance to existing medications.

Now, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have discovered one way to stop malaria parasite growth, and this new finding could guide the development of new malaria treatments.

"Our research on malaria is in line with Johns Hopkins' mission to address health problems on a global level," says Jun O. Liu, Ph.D., a professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences. "Our findings offer both a new potential molecular target for treating malaria and a compound that interacts at that target. These are important steps in discovering drugs that could help to treat malaria." The results of the research were published in the February 27 issue of Chemistry & Biology.

Liu's research team has for many years studied MetAP2 proteins, which are found in all organisms — from humans to single-celled bacteria — and essential for cell survival. They reasoned that if the malaria parasite has its own MetAP2, finding a chemical that disrupts MetAP2 function may lead to a new drug to stop parasite growth and malaria spread. So they searched a computer database of the sequence of the malaria parasite genome and found one protein very similar to human MetAP2, which they named PfMetAP2 for plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria.

Recently other researchers reported that the natural antibiotic fumagillin can stop malaria parasites from growing, possibly by interfering with MetAP2. But the man-made version of fumagillin causes brain cells to die, so Liu's team made several compounds chemically related to fumagillin in hopes of finding one less toxic but still effective in interfering with PfMetAP2. They chose to further study one of these compounds, fumarranol, because it interacts with human MetAP2 and is less toxic to mice.

The team first tested whether fumarranol can stick to and interfere with PfMetAP2 by treating mouse cells containing PfMetAP2 with different amounts of fumarranol and fumagillin and comparing them to untreated cells. In treated cells, fumarranol stuck to PfMetAP2 and stopped it from working.

They next asked whether fumarranol could stop malaria parasites from growing in a culture dish. They treated both drug-resistant and multidrug-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum and found that fumarranol could stop the parasite from multiplying.

The team then gave mice infected with malaria fumarranol for four days after infection and measured the parasite load in the blood. They found that after four days, fumarranol worked as well as fumagillin to slow infection. After another 26 days they again measured parasites in the blood, found that some mice carried no observable level of parasites and considered these animals cured.

"The next step for establishing a new treatment for malaria would be to test whether fumarranol is the most optimal treatment or if new compounds that are similar to fumarranol might be even more specific to malaria parasites," Liu says.

This research was funded by a pilot grant from the Malaria Research Institute of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Department of Pharmacology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Keck Foundation.

Authors on the paper are X. Chen, S. Xie, S. Bhat, T.A. Shapiro, and J.O. Liu of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and N. Kumar of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

On the Web: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/pharmacology/research/liu.html

Audrey Huang | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jhmi.edu
http://www.cell.com/neuron/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht World’s Largest Study on Allergic Rhinitis Reveals new Risk Genes
17.07.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Plant mothers talk to their embryos via the hormone auxin
17.07.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microscopic trampoline may help create networks of quantum computers

17.07.2018 | Information Technology

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier

17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

The role of Sodium for the Enhancement of Solar Cells

17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>