A new compound has the potential to fight the parasites that cause sleeping sickness and Chagas disease

via University of Glasgow

A new compound has the potential to fight the parasites that cause sleeping sickness and Chagas disease

Scientists have discovered a new class of compound that is potentially active against trypanosome parasites that cause human African trypanosomiasis (or sleeping sickness) and Chagas disease.

The ground-breaking findings – published in the journal Science and led by researchers at the University of Glasgow and Novartis Global Health (formerly Novartis Institutes for Tropical Diseases) – reveal potent compounds discovered for the two separate types of trypanosomiases, showing potential for development as new medicines for these diseases.

The study demonstrated that the compounds were able to cure a mouse model of sleeping sickness with just a single dose, and a short course of daily doses across five days cured Chagas disease in the same models.

African trypanosomiasis (or sleeping sickness) is a major killer disease which puts around 70 million people at risk in sub-Saharan African countries and is invariably fatal if untreated or inadequately treated. Meanwhile, around seven million people are currently infected by Chagas disease, which can cause irreversible damage to the heart and digestive tract.

There are currently no drugs available that effectively cure Chagas disease; while for sleeping sickness, there have been some steps forward toward new therapies in recent years.

The researchers also show in the study exactly how the compounds, called cyanotriazoles (or CTs for short), kill parasites without adversely affecting host cells. These compounds selectively bind to a parasite enzyme (called topoisomerase II) that is essential for the replication and maintenance of DNA, which carries the genetic blueprint vital for life. By binding to and inhibiting this enzyme, the compounds introduce breaks into the DNA that are lethal to the parasites.

The Glasgow group – led by Professor Mike Barrett from the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Parasitology in the University’s School of infection & Immunity – made inroads into finding that mechanism of action using a technique known as metabolomics, through the Glasgow Polyomics facility, which showed how DNA was being degraded in the cells. Parasites resistant to the drugs had changed their topoisomerase protein structure such that they no longer bound the drug.

The Novartis team, led by Srini Rao, worked out the three-dimensional structure of the trypanosome’s topoisomerase, revealing how CTs bind to a particular part of the trypanosome’s enzyme that is absent from the human version.

Mike Barrett, Professor of Biochemical Parasitology at the University of Glasgow, said: “Compounds with this degree of potency, working through a newly discovered mechanism, represent a major breakthrough. If they are proven to be safe in humans and retain the levels of activity seen in mice, they could offer the first effective therapy of Chagas disease which afflicts millions of people in Latin America.”


See Also


More from: University of Glasgow 



The Latest Updates from Bing News

Go deeper with Bing News on:
Trypanosome parasites
  • Immunomodulatory Effects of Antimicrobial Agents. Part II

    Parasites refer to microscopic unicellular protozoa, multicellular helminths which may reach large dimensions, and arthropods which comprise diverse organisms. All are possible vectors of disease ...

  • Pests and Parasites News

    May 23, 2024 — The Epstein-Barr virus can cause a spectrum of diseases, including a range of cancers. Emerging data now show that inhibition of a specific metabolic pathway in infected cells can ...

  • World News

    LONDON (AP) — Most residents living near a scenic fishing village in southwestern England where a parasite in the water sickened more than 45 people were told Saturday that they could safely ...

  • Terrifying Baldur’s Gate 3 Glitch Makes Parasites Enormous

    Please verify your email address. A glitch in Baldur's Gate 3 makes parasites huge, creating a scary sight for players. Players are amazed by the level of detail in the massive parasite model.

  • Devon: Confirmed cases of disease more than double to 46 after parasite found in drinking water

    The confirmed cases of a waterborne disease caused by a parasite have more than doubled. There are now 46 confirmed cases of cryptosporidiosis, a diarrhoeal illness, the UK Health Security Agency ...

Go deeper with Bing News on:
    Feed has no items.
What's Your Reaction?
Don't Like it!
I Like it!
Scroll To Top