Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Breakthrough Research Turns The Tide On Water-borne Pathogen

Date:
January 29, 2008
Source:
Brandeis University
Summary:
Cryptosporidium parvum is a tiny yet insidious waterborne parasite that wreaks havoc worldwide, causing diarrhea and malnutrition in small children in developing countries, and severe disease in AIDS and other immune compromised patients in the developed world. Cryptosporidium is resistant to water chlorination and has caused massive outbreaks in the US, making the parasite a potential bio-terrorism agent. There are neither vaccines nor effective drugs available to respond to these multiple threats to human health.

Cryptosporidium parvum is a tiny yet insidious waterborne parasite that wreaks havoc worldwide. This parasite is a major cause of diarrhea and malnutrition in small children in developing countries, and causes severe disease in AIDS and other immune compromised patients in the developed world. Cryptosporidium is resistant to water chlorination and has caused massive outbreaks in the U.S., which has led to the concern that the parasite could be used as a bio-terrorism agent. There are neither vaccines nor effective drugs available to respond to these multiple threats to human health.

Related Articles


In the journal Chemistry and Biology, researchers at Brandeis University and the University of Georgia report they have identified lead compounds that inhibit Cryptosporidium's parasitic punch, paving the way for an effective antibiotic treatment. In all, scientists identified ten new compounds, four of which are better at fighting Cryptosporidium than the antibiotic paromomycin, the current gold standard for evaluating anticryptosporidial activity.

"These are promising new compounds and this research provides an avenue of much needed therapy for this disease," said Brandeis biochemist Lizbeth Hedstrom, whose lab identified the compounds together with parasitologist Boris Striepen of the University of Georgia.

While there are many drugs to treat bacterial infections, it has been very difficult to find drugs against pathogens like Cryptosporidium because the proteins of these parasites are actually very similar to those of their human host. Scientists have been further thwarted because little was known about Cryptosporidium metabolism. This situation recently changed dramatically when genome sequencing provided a genetic blueprint of Cryptosporidium.

In work leading up to the current study, Hedstrom and Striepen used this blueprint to show that Cryptosporidium has a very simple process to produce the building blocks of DNA and RNA. Surprisingly, the researchers also discovered that Cryptosporidium stole a critical gene in this pathway from intestinal bacteria. This unusually large evolutionary divergence between parasite and host proteins provides an unexpected platform for novel drug design.

The stolen bacterial gene encodes a gatekeeper protein, known as IMPDH, which is essential for parasite growth. Hedstrom and her colleagues set out to find compounds that bind to the part of the parasite's IMPDH that is most different from human IMPDH.

They tested 40,000 compounds using the facilities of the National Screening Laboratory for the Regional Centers of Excellence in BioDefense and Emerging Infectious Disease (NSRB/NERCE) at Harvard Medical School, and identified ten compounds that inhibited the parasite protein, but not the human counterpart. Four of these compounds are effective in stopping Cryptosporidium infection in the laboratory.

"The quest to develop drugs to treat this debilitating disease has been almost futile," said Hedstrom. "We are still a long way from an actual anticryptosporidial drug, but we are very encouraged by these results."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Brandeis University. "Breakthrough Research Turns The Tide On Water-borne Pathogen." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080125125113.htm>.
Brandeis University. (2008, January 29). Breakthrough Research Turns The Tide On Water-borne Pathogen. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080125125113.htm
Brandeis University. "Breakthrough Research Turns The Tide On Water-borne Pathogen." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080125125113.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) — The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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