Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Safer treatment for millions suffering from trypanosome parasite infection

Date:
April 18, 2011
Source:
Queen Mary, University of London
Summary:
A safer and more effective treatment for 10 million people in developing countries who suffer from infections caused by trypanosome parasites could become a reality, thanks to new research.

A safer and more effective treatment for 10 million people in developing countries who suffer from infections caused by trypanosome parasites could become a reality thanks to new research from Queen Mary, University of London published April 15.

Scientists have uncovered the mechanisms behind a drug used to treat African sleeping sickness and Chagas disease, infections caused by trypanosome parasites which result in 60,000 deaths each year.

The study, appearing in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, investigated how the drug nifurtimox works to kill off the trypanosome.

Co-author of the study, Dr Shane Wilkinson from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, said: "Hopefully our research will lead to the development of anti-parasitic medicines which have fewer side effects than nifurtimox and are more effective.

"What we've found is that an enzyme within the parasites carries out the process nifurtimox needs to be converted to a toxic form. This produces a breakdown product which kills the parasite.

"This mechanism overturns the long-held belief that nifurtimox worked against the parasites by inducing oxidative stress in cells."

Nifurtimox has been used for more than 40 years to treat Chagas disease (also known as American trypanosomiasis) and has recently been recommended for use as part of a nifurtimox-eflornithine combination therapy for African sleeping sickness (also called human African trypanosomiasis).

Dr Wilkinson and his colleagues Dr Belinda Hall and Mr Christopher Bot from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences focused their research on the characterisation of the breakdown product from nifurtimox.

"The backbone of nifurtimox contains a chemical group called a nitro linked to a ring structure called a furan," Dr Wilkinson explained.

"When the parasite enzyme discussed in the paper reacts with nifurtimox, it converts the nitro group to a derivative called hydroxylamine. The change effectively acts as a switch causing a redistribution of electrons within the compounds chemical backbone."

"The upshot of this redistribution of electrons causes a specific chemical bond in furan ring to break resulting in formation of a toxic product (called an unsaturated open chain nitrile).

"Understanding how nifurtimox kills trypanosomes may generate new and safer compounds which utilise the bioreductive activity of this parasitic enzyme."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen Mary, University of London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. S. Hall, C. Bot, S. R. Wilkinson. Nifurtimox Activation by Trypanosomal Type I Nitroreductases Generates Cytotoxic Nitrile Metabolites. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2011; 286 (15): 13088 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M111.230847

Cite This Page:

Queen Mary, University of London. "Safer treatment for millions suffering from trypanosome parasite infection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110415083147.htm>.
Queen Mary, University of London. (2011, April 18). Safer treatment for millions suffering from trypanosome parasite infection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110415083147.htm
Queen Mary, University of London. "Safer treatment for millions suffering from trypanosome parasite infection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110415083147.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) 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