Research shows stronger but less frequent drug doses could be key
Researchers in the University of Georgia’s Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases have found that a more intensive, less frequent drug regimen with currently available therapeutics could cure the infection that causes Chagas disease, a potentially life-threatening illness affecting up to 300,000 people in the United States.
Trypanosoma cruzi is a single-celled parasitic organism that causes Chagas disease. At least 6 million people are infected by T. cruzi, mostly in South America. Current drug therapies have been ineffective in completely clearing the infection and are associated with severe adverse side effects.
A single dose of benznidazole has been shown to be highly effective in killing more than 90% of parasites. However, after a CTEGD team found some of the parasites enter into a dormancy stage, the researchers hypothesized that an intermittent treatment schedule could be effective.
Current human trials are only looking at giving lower doses over a shorter time period, which is the exact opposite of what we show works.” — Rick Tarleton
“In this system we can see what a single dose of drug does,” said Rick Tarleton, Regents’ Professor in UGA’s department of cellular biology. “Does it make sense to give a drug twice daily when the remaining dormant parasites are insensitive to it?”
The investigators found that giving as little as two-and-a-half times the typical daily dose of benznidazole, once per week for 30 weeks, completely cleared the infection, whereas giving the standard daily dose once a week for a longer period did not.
“Current human trials are only looking at giving lower doses over a shorter time period, which is the exact opposite of what we show works,” said Tarleton.
Since Tarleton’s team worked with a mouse model, how this change in treatment regimen will translate in humans is yet unknown, as are any potential side effects of the higher doses. Adverse reactions already are a problem with current treatments; the hope is that side effects from a less frequent dosage would be more tolerable.
Assessing the success of treatments in Chagas disease is a significant challenge. Tissue samples from infected organisms might not be representative of the entire organ or animal, since low numbers of persistent, dormant parasites can be difficult to detect. Therefore, Tarleton’s group used light sheet fluorescence microscopy to view intact whole organs from infected mice.
“With light sheet fluorescence microscopy, you have a broad view of potentially any tissue in the mouse that allows for dependable assessment of parasite load and persistence,” said Tarleton. “It gives you an incredible view of the infection.”
Using this technology, they learned something new about the dormant parasites: Some were still susceptible to drug treatment. This provides hope that new drug therapies could be developed to target these parasites.
“Discovery of new drugs should continue,” Tarleton said. “We still need better drugs.”
Co-led by assistant research scientist Juan Bustamante and research professional Fernando Sanchez in Tarleton’s research group, the study’s findings appear in Science Translational Medicine.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Experimental Therapy For Parasitic Heart Disease – K777 – May Also Help Stop COVID-19on April 6, 2021 at 5:19 am
By blocking human enzyme cathepsin L, chemical inhibitor K777 reduces coronavirus' ability to infect cell lines; clinical trials are underway. James McKerrow, MD, PhD, dean of the Skaggs School of ...
- Chagas Disease Drug Market Statistics, CAGR, Outlook, and Covid-19 Impact 2021-2027on April 5, 2021 at 4:35 am
Apr 05, 2021 (Market Insight Reports) -- Qy research medical answers what are the scenarios for growth and recovery and whether there will be any lasting structural impact from the unfolding crisis ...
- Paraguay’s First Satellite Deployed From Space Station – Will Help Track a Tiny, Life-Threatening Parasiteon April 4, 2021 at 6:19 am
On March 14, the Paraguayan Space Agency (AEP) deployed a satellite from the International Space Station to help track a tiny parasite that causes Chagas disease. The satellite, Guaranisat-1, is the ...
- Chemical inhibitor can reduce SARS-CoV-2's ability to infect host cell lineson April 4, 2021 at 6:05 am
One of these neglected diseases is Chagas disease, the leading cause of heart failure in Latin America, which is spread by "kissing bugs" carrying the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. These parasites ...
- Experimental therapy for parasitic heart disease may help stop Covid-19: Studyon April 4, 2021 at 4:16 am
Researchers at the University of California San Diego found that the chemical inhibitor K777 reduces the coronavirus' ability to infect cell lines by blocking human enzyme cathepsin L. Clinical trials ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Light sheet fluorescence microscopy
- Bruker light-sheet microscopes at major comprehensive cancer centeron March 25, 2021 at 3:37 am
Dr. Anna-Katerina Hadjantonakis, MSK Chair of the Developmental Biology Program Light-sheet fluorescence microscopy has emerged as a uniquely powerful method for high-resolution, cleared-sample ...
- Bruker Light-Sheet Microscopes at Major Comprehensive Cancer Centeron March 24, 2021 at 4:17 am
The funding for the two light-sheet fluorescence microscopes was supported by Cycle for Survival (https://www.cycleforsurvival.org). The new SPIM microscopes will help researchers visualize the ...
- Bruker Light-Sheet Microscopes at Major Comprehensive Cancer Centeron March 24, 2021 at 4:06 am
"Light-sheet fluorescence microscopy has emerged as a uniquely powerful method for high-resolution, cleared-sample and dynamic biological imaging," added Dr. Lars Hufnagel, Vice President and ...
- Bruker Light-Sheet Microscopes at Major Comprehensive Cancer Centeron March 24, 2021 at 4:01 am
The funding for the two light-sheet fluorescence microscopes was supported by Cycle for Survival ( https://www.cycleforsurvival.org). The new SPIM microscopes will help researchers visualize the ...
- Bruker and Visikol Partner to Launch Light-Sheet Imaging Serviceson March 9, 2021 at 5:11 pm
The use of tissue clearing combined with advanced microscopy (e.g., confocal, light-sheet, 2-photon) and fluorescent labeling to image tissues in 3D requires a deep understanding of multiple ...