Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists find Achilles' heel in life-threatening malaria parasites

Date:
April 20, 2012
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
Scientists have identified a link between different strains of malaria parasites that cause severe disease, which could help develop vaccines or drugs against life-threatening cases of the infection.

Scientists have identified a link between different strains of malaria parasites that cause severe disease. The development could help develop vaccines or drugs against life-threatening cases of the infection.

Researchers have identified a key protein that is common to many potentially fatal forms of the condition.

They found that antibodies that targeted this protein were effective against these severe malaria strains.

Blood blockage

The protein has sticky properties that enable it to bind to red blood cells and form dangerous clumps that can block blood vessels.

These clumps, or rosettes, can cause severe illness, including coma and brain damage.

Presently, between 10 and 20 per cent of people with severe malaria die from it, and the disease -- which is spread by blood-sucking mosquitoes -- claims about one million lives per year.

Hard to treat

Malaria parasites, once in the bloodstream, are able to alter the protein molecules on their surfaces to evade attack by the immune system.

These surface proteins are usually poor targets for treatments or vaccines because they are highly variable between different malaria parasite strains.

Now, researchers have found that the surface proteins of rosette-forming parasites share similarities that may allow them to act as a target for treatments to block progress of the disease.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh worked with collaborators from Cameroon, Mali, Kenya and The Gambia to test their antibodies against parasites collected from patients.

"We knew that clusters, or rosettes, of blood cells were found in many cases of severe or life-threatening malaria, so we looked at rosette-forming parasites and found a common factor that we could target with antibodies,"

said, Professor Alexandra Rowe of the School of Biological Sciences.

The study, published in PLoS Pathogens, was supported by the Wellcome Trust.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Ashfaq Ghumra, Jean-Philippe Semblat, Ricardo Ataide, Carolyne Kifude, Yvonne Adams, Antoine Claessens, Damian N. Anong, Peter C. Bull, Clare Fennell, Monica Arman, Alfred Amambua-Ngwa, Michael Walther, David J. Conway, Lalla Kassambara, Ogobara K. Doumbo, Ahmed Raza, J. Alexandra Rowe. Induction of Strain-Transcending Antibodies Against Group A PfEMP1 Surface Antigens from Virulent Malaria Parasites. PLoS Pathogens, 2012; 8 (4): e1002665 DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002665

Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Scientists find Achilles' heel in life-threatening malaria parasites." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120420105833.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2012, April 20). Scientists find Achilles' heel in life-threatening malaria parasites. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120420105833.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Scientists find Achilles' heel in life-threatening malaria parasites." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120420105833.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) New findings suggest men with a certain type of baldness at age 45 are 39 percent more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. Video provided by Newsy
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