Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Blood-thinning copycat enters malaria fight

Date:
June 2, 2010
Source:
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
Summary:
New treatments for malaria are possible after scientists found that molecules similar to the blood-thinning drug heparin can stop malaria from infecting red blood cells.

New treatments for malaria are possible after Dr. James Beeson and Michelle Boyle, from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia, found that molecules similar to the blood-thinning drug heparin can stop malaria from infecting red blood cells.
Credit: Czesia Markiewicz, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

New treatments for malaria are possible after Walter and Eliza Hall Institute scientists found that molecules similar to the blood-thinning drug heparin can stop malaria from infecting red blood cells.

Related Articles


Malaria is an infection of red blood cells that is transmitted by mosquitoes. The most common form of malaria is caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum which burrows into red blood cells where it rapidly multiplies, leading to massive numbers of parasites in the blood stream that can cause severe disease and death.

At the moment, all anti-malarials licensed for use in humans block the development of the parasite within the red blood cell.

But Dr James Beeson, Ms Michelle Boyle and Dr Jack Richards from the institute's Infection and Immunity division, along with colleagues at the Burnet Institute and Imperial College London, have identified a new approach that could stop the parasite infecting red blood cells in the first place.

Using real-time video microscopy of red blood cell infection, the team showed that heparin-like carbohydrates blocked the ability of the malaria parasite to infect cells, Dr Beeson said.

"The malaria parasite needs a protein called MSP1 if it is to infect red blood cells as MSP1 is involved in the initial attachment of the parasite to the cells," Dr Beeson said.

"We have shown that heparin-like carbohydrates bind to MSP1 which stops the parasite from properly attaching to the red blood cell and, therefore, from invading."

The findings are published in the journal Blood and have raised the prospect of developing new anti-malarials that are based on the structure and activity of heparin-like molecules.

Although humans produce heparin-like molecules naturally, they do not occur at high enough levels in the blood to have anti-malarial activity, Dr Beeson said. "Heparin itself wouldn't be suitable as an anti-malarial as it prevents blood clotting. However, we have identified related compounds that are more potent against malaria than heparin but do not prevent blood clotting- these could form the basis of new antimalarial drugs."

Each year more than 400 million people contract malaria, and around one million people, mostly children, die from the disease.

This research was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Victorian and Commonwealth governments.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. J. Boyle, J. S. Richards, P. R. Gilson, W. Chai, J. G. Beeson. Interactions with heparin-like molecules during erythrocyte invasion by P. falciparum merozoites. Blood, 2010; DOI: 10.1182/blood-2009-09-243725

Cite This Page:

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. "Blood-thinning copycat enters malaria fight." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100601114637.htm>.
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. (2010, June 2). Blood-thinning copycat enters malaria fight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100601114637.htm
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. "Blood-thinning copycat enters malaria fight." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100601114637.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
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