Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

African Sleeping Sickness Breakthrough

Date:
April 6, 2006
Source:
Lancaster University
Summary:
Researchers have made a crucial breakthrough in the journey towards finding a treatment for African Sleeping Sickness. The team of researchers from Lancaster, Oxford and Manchester Universities have discovered a weakness in the parasite that causes the disease - it cannot survive in the human bloodstream without the use of its flagellum, a protein 'tail' that allows it to swim.

Ablation of flagellar proteins in African sleeping sickness parasite; monstrous cells arise (main picture) & rapidly die as parasites fail to divide. Inset: normal trypanosome for comparison not to scale.
Credit: Image courtesy of Lancaster University

Researchers have made a crucial breakthrough in the journey towards finding a treatment for African Sleeping Sickness.

The team of researchers from Lancaster, Oxford and Manchester Universities have discovered a weakness in the parasite that causes the disease - it cannot survive in the human bloodstream without the use of its flagellum, a protein 'tail' that allows it to swim.

This unexpected discovery offers up a valuable lead in the search for new drugs to control the killer disease.

The study is published this week (March 9) in the leading scientific journal Nature.

The sleeping sickness parasite, Trypanosoma brucei, is a single-celled organism equipped with a whip-like tail or flagellum. The parasite initially lives in the bloodstream of the human host causing fever and headaches, but eventually crosses into the brain where it causes irreversible neurological damage. Without treatment, the disease is fatal.

According to the latest figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO), African Sleeping sickness threatens over 60 million people in 36 countries of sub-Saharan Africa. The number of new cases per year is estimated to be between 300,000 to 500,000 with at least 60,000 people dying annually from the disease.

Until now doctors have struggled to treat the disease as most of the drugs currently used to combat this disease have undesirable side-effects and parasites are beginning to show evidence of increasing drug resistance. Furthermore there is little hope of a vaccine.

Lancaster University Biologist Dr Paul McKean said: “In this study we describe, for the first time, a full catalogue of the proteins required to build the trypanosome flagellum (the sleeping sickness parasite’s tail).

“We also show that many of these proteins are specific to the trypanosome flagellum. This latter finding is of critical importance since we also show that flagellum function is essential to the survival of bloodstream trypanosomes. These two observations raise the possibility that the flagellum may represent a novel target for the development of new drugs against this important medical pathogen.”


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Lancaster University. "African Sleeping Sickness Breakthrough." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 April 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060406103635.htm>.
Lancaster University. (2006, April 6). African Sleeping Sickness Breakthrough. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060406103635.htm
Lancaster University. "African Sleeping Sickness Breakthrough." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060406103635.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) 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