Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Old Drugs Could Treat African Sleeping Sickness

Date:
November 21, 2001
Source:
University Of Wisconsin, Madison
Summary:
By sorting through libraries of existing drugs, scientists have identified a subset of old medicines that may help combat a prevailing problem: the parasitic microbes that cause African Sleeping Sickness, a disease afflicting up to 500,000 people annually in sub-Saharan Africa and leaving more than 60 million at risk.

By sorting through libraries of existing drugs, scientists have identified a subset of old medicines that may help combat a prevailing problem: the parasitic microbes that cause African Sleeping Sickness, a disease afflicting up to 500,000 people annually in sub-Saharan Africa and leaving more than 60 million at risk.

African Sleeping Sickness is a fatal disease transmitted by an infected tsetse fly. When the fly bites a human, parasitic protozoa called trypanosomes enter the bloodstream, where they multiply and ultimately wreak havoc on the central nervous system, causing motor impairment, dementia, coma and death. Drugs do exist to treat the disease, but many are too expensive or toxic to be truly effective.

"There's a crushing need for new drug development," says Jay Bangs, a UW-Madison microbiologist who helped scour the pharmacopia of old drugs with an eye toward new uses.

"Rather than trying to make a drug from scratch," Bangs explains, "we've gone to an existing databank of compounds and found a set that may be a new class of compounds for the treatment of African Sleeping Sickness."

Bangs and his colleague Nigel Hooper from the University of Leeds in England were interested in zinc metalloprotease enzymes, known players during the trypanosome lifecycle and implicated in mammalian hypertension and arthritis. Drugs have already been developed to block the enzyme in humans, thereby alleviating high blood pressure and inflammation; the two researchers thought those same compounds could possibly block similar enzymes in trypanosomes. By searching databases of such existing drugs, they identified a class of compounds -- peptidomimetics.

"We've found that inhibitors of mammalian zinc metalloproteases are toxic to the parasite in quite low doses," says Bangs. "The compounds could be used to treat diseases caused by African trypanosomes."

That possibility, Bangs notes, is a long ways off because the peptidomimetics would need to be rigorously tested in people infected with the sleeping sickness. However, he is optimistic: "We have lead compounds and have shown they have the potential to work. There's a whole repertoire of similar compounds that can now be tested."

Bangs and Hooper have applied for a "concept of usage" patent, identifying a new application of the existing compounds. The patent was filed through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization that manages the intellectual property in the interest of UW-Madison.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Wisconsin, Madison. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Wisconsin, Madison. "Old Drugs Could Treat African Sleeping Sickness." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 November 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011120052049.htm>.
University Of Wisconsin, Madison. (2001, November 21). Old Drugs Could Treat African Sleeping Sickness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011120052049.htm
University Of Wisconsin, Madison. "Old Drugs Could Treat African Sleeping Sickness." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011120052049.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins